Saturday, 11 January 2014

Divorced from Reality

Florence Tsang Chiu-wing (right) fought over Samanthur Li-kan's assets (left)
In 2011 Hong Kong was riveted by a high profile divorce case between Samanthur Li Kin-kan and Florence Tsang Chiu-wing.

Li is the son of Samuel Tak-lee, head of Prudential Enterprise that has a collection of global real estate developments and owns the Prudential Hotel in Jordan.

The divorce proceedings came about when Tsang got pregnant and refused Li's demand that she get an abortion, and then she discovered he was having an affair.

Thus began a legal battle that allowed the rest of us to peek into the lives of the uber rich.

The court heard how Li liked to splurge more than HK$100 million on himself, and at one point had a Boeing business jet, two yachts, 28 cars and millions of dollars worth of wine.

Meanwhile she claimed she was used to her lavish lifestyle, and the court awarded her HK$250 million for a property in Hong Kong, HK$30 million for a place in London, HK$2.5 million for two cars in Hong Kong and another HK$1 million for a set of wheels in London.

She also got HK$5 million to buy a yacht and HK$4.6 million to enable to her to join clubs in both Hong Kong and London.

In the end Tsang was awarded a whopping HK$1.4 billion which must have freaked out all married men in Hong Kong. Part of the reasoning was because the court felt Li and his father had deliberately tried to lower the value of Li's assets by transferring some of them into the father's name.

Li and his father appealed to the Court of Appeal and yesterday it slashed Tsang's divorce settlement to HK$411 million, saying the lower court was wrong to include Li's multi-billion dollar real estate investment in Japan, which was developed with seed money from his father (that he bought back for a nominal sum of HK$1).

The Court of Appeal also ruled that Tsang had her own assets and so HK$411 million would be enough. Li had already given her HK$202.8 million already so the remaining balance was HK$208 million.

Will Tsang be able to live comfortably on HK$411 million her ex-husband gives her? It more than covers the lifestyle she seems to have demanded.

The lesson learned? The rich get mind-boggling richer and even their ex-wives aren't living too shabbily even though their original settlement was reduced by two-thirds.

And people wonder why Hong Kong women only want to meet rich men...

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