Who deserves more? The Lo family is locked in a nasty feud

The Lo family of the Great Eagle Group is divided into two opposing camps in the fight for the family wealth, with reconciliation unlikely, according to one son

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2017, 11:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2017, 11:27pm

Under a web of lies and manipulation that shrouded the infighting within the Lo family who controls Great Eagle Holdings through a trust, reconciliation has become unlikely, according to Vincent Lo Hong-shui, the fourth son of the family.

The family, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent and wealthiest real estate clans, has come under spotlight and provided fodder for the gossip columns as the feud intensifies.

On Wednesday, Vincent Lo broke his silence after the annual general meeting of Shui On Land, which he chairs, saying that trust among the siblings was lost and reconciliation seems infeasible at this point.

The feud was set in motion after Lo’s 98-year-old mother, Lo To Lee-kwan, filed a case in the High Court last December to dismiss the manager of the family trust, HSBC International Trustee.

But Lo Ka-shui, who chairs Great Eagle, said on Tuesday that as an appointor and a guardian of the family trust, he was not keen to dismiss HSBC as it has been managing the trust with professionalism for the last 33 years.

The third son of the family, he added that his mother could have been manipulated by others who wanted to dismiss HSBC.

Lo Ka-shui’s comments, contrary to his mother’s court filing move, came after the matriarch wrote an open letter earlier this month accusing him of being unfilial to his parents and unfair to his siblings.

Refuting Vincent Lo’s comments on Wednesday night, a spokesman for Mrs Lo said that “she is not happy that someone twisted her words saying she was manipulated.”

The spokesman said they had held two family meetings, where Vincent Lo, Lo Ka-shui and another son, Lo Ying-sui were absent.

“Mrs Lo naturally did not answer their calls. Mrs Lo hopes to have a third family meeting and that family issues should not be discussed through the media.”

She is not happy that someone twisted her words saying she was manipulated
Spokesman for Lo To Lee-kwan

Earlier on Wednesday, Vincent Lo had backed his third brother, saying that the latter deserves the largest share of the trust given his contribution to Great Eagle.

He said that with Lo Ka-shui at the helm, Great Eagle had recovered from the slump that hit in the 1980s. Great Eagle also controls two Hong Kong listed companies – Champion Reit and Langham Hospitality Investments – and they have a total market capitalisation of more than HK$60 billion.

“This has all happened, perhaps, because if there is fertile soil, people will naturally fight over it,” he said. “They are murdering the [public] personality of Lo Ka-shui.”

“Some of my brothers have come out to talk [to the media]. But what they said is completely untrue,” Lo said. “Some said the decision to dismiss HSBC was a consensual agreement among all family members. But I have personally not seen a single document about this.”

He believed that his mother must have been manipulated by his other brothers in the accusation against Lo Ka-shui, as the tone of the open letter was unlike how she speaks.

This has all happened, perhaps, because if there is fertile soil, people will naturally fight over it
Vincent Lo, Shui On Land

Vincent Lo said he was distraught at how divided the family has become. On Mother’s Day, the sons who favoured dismissing the trust got to dine with their mother, while the other brothers were prohibited by security guards from joining the banquet.

“For the last one month, my mother has been isolated from us [by the other brothers],” said Lo, “I have not been able to see or talk to her.”

Vincent Lo said HSBC had been granted full authority to manage the trust and he was not sure how the agreement can be rearranged even when case reaches the court.

Shares of Great Eagle fell 0.26 per cent to HK$37.85 on Wednesday.

Great Eagle was founded by the late real estate tycoon Lo Ying-shek and his wife Lo To Lee-kwan in the 1960s. Lo Ying-shek, who died in 2006, appointed Lo Ka-shui as the chairman of the group.