Wang estate trial becomes contentious

Witness accused of lying about Nina’s 2002 will
Nickkita Lau
June 5, 2009
The Standard
The lawyer for fung shui master Tony Chan Chun-chuen accused a witness – a solicitor – of lying yesterday when he testified he only knew of the existence of an uncontested 2002 will after billionaire Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum’s death in 2007.

“It is a lie you just told,” Chan’s lawyer Ian Mill said, in challenging the evidence of Winfield Wong Wing-cheung.

Wong was the signatory of a 2006 will that Chan is basing his claim to all of Wang’s assets on, while the uncontested 2002 will left Wang’s entire estate to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation.

Mill pointed out that Wong certified true copies of the 2002 will that year, but Wong explained he did not have to understand the entire contents before certifying the document.

“You’re a solicitor. You’ve signed certified true and complete copies of Nina Wang’s will. How can you have not read it?”  Mill challenged.

But Wong said his usual practice was to ask his secretary to photocopy the document, and then he would check the number of pages and the beginning and the end of each page of both documents.

“I only need to know this is a copy of the original. I don’t need to understand every detail to proceed with certifying a true and authentic copy,” Wong told the court. He said Mill cannot call him a liar based on assumption, and there is no evidence indicating he knew the contents of the document.

Questioned by Chinachem’s lawyer Denis Chang, Wong said he refused to sign a statutory declaration prepared by Chinachem upon Wang’s death because, despite many changes and additions made, he still found it unsatisfactory. He also said some of his statements were taken out of context, otherwise he would not have to give evidence in court.

Wong said he agreed with the parts stating he noticed the will Wang asked him to sign in 2006 was a partial will, and that he remembered a gift was to be given to a “Mr Chan.” But he insisted the gift was for more than HK$10 million, instead of HK$10 million as written in the declaration. He also stressed he disagreed with the part “[the will] only dealt with the residue and remainder of her estate.”

Another signatory, Ng Shung-mo, was recalled to the witness stand for cross-examination. Ng said Wang gave him four copies of the 2002 will – certified by Wong – to keep. He claimed he never deliberately looked at the contents because he was not interested, nor did he tell Wong about it because they were confidential documents.

To his knowledge, other than Wang and himself, only Wang’s personal secretary, Dinly Au, knew he had them before October 2006, when the will that purportedly leaves Wang’s estate to Chan was signed.