The alleged lover of Asia’s richest businesswoman testified Friday that a video of them burning money and incense at a temple was an event intended to seal their relationship before a Chinese god. The lawyer for the other side accused him of lying.
The testimony came during a highly publicised Hong Kong court battle over the multibillion-dollar estate of Nina Wang, one of the territory’s most colorful people. Known as “Little Sweetie” for her girlish outfits and pigtails, she died at age 69 of cancer in April 2007.
Tony Chan Chun-chuen, a 49-year-old feng shui adviser, says he and Wang were lovers and that she left him her fortune in an October 2006 will.
But a foundation set up by Wang and her late husband claims her estate under a competing will dated July 2002.
In his third day on the stand, Chan was questioned by a lawyer for the foundation about a video that Chan says shows him and Wang burning incense sticks and money at a Hong Kong temple.
Chan said he and Wang taped the ritual to commemorate their relationship.
“We purchased some wine, we drank there and informed the god ... that we were together. That’s why we took this film,” Chan said. “It was not a ceremony, it was a commemorative event.”
But the foundation’s attorney, Lawrence Lok, questioned why Chan had not mentioned before the trial began that the video showed him and Wang worshipping a Chinese god.
“You just made this up,” Lok said. The video is in evidence, but it was not clear if it would be shown in court.
Lok also read from the transcript of a 1993 video in which Chan repeatedly told Wang she looked beautiful in a Qing dynasty outfit, asking Chan if he was trying to flatter the late businesswoman.
“I wasn’t kissing up to her. When you’re dating someone, these are the kinds of things you say,” Chan said.
Wang inherited her husband’s fortune after an eight-year court battle against her father-in-law.
Her husband was abducted in 1990, and though the family paid $33 million in ransom, he was never released and his body never found.
Wang went on to build her husband’s company, Chinachem, into a massive property Hong Kong developer.
In 2007, Forbes magazine ranked her as the world’s No. 204 richest person with a fortune of US$4.2 billion, but it is not clear how much her estate is currently worth.