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September 22, 2009

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Wang's love no forgery: lawyer

A CONTROVERSIAL will that leaves the entire estate of Asia's richest woman to a feng shui adviser reflected her love for him, a lawyer said in closing arguments in a Hong Kong court yesterday.

The will, dated October 2006, is at the center of a high-profile legal battle that has transfixed Hong Kong with a glimpse into the private world of late real estate tycoon Nina Wang and her alleged love affair with bartender-turned-feng shui adviser Tony Chan.

Two wills have emerged since Wang died of cancer in April 2007 at age 69.

A July 2002 will bequeaths her estate to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation Ltd, set up by Wang and her late husband. The other was put forward by Chan, who claims the two were lovers and that Wang left him her fortune instead.

Dubbed "Little Sweetie," Wang was famous for her girlish outfits and pigtails. Her husband, Teddy Wang, disappeared after he was abducted in 1990. He was declared dead in 1999.

Nina Wang inherited his Chinachem Group after an epic eight-year legal fight against her father-in-law. She built the company into a major property developer with office towers, shopping malls, hotels and apartment complexes throughout Hong Kong.

It is not clear how much Wang's estate is worth. In 2007, Forbes magazine ranked her as the world's 204th richest person with a fortune of US$4.2 billion.

In his closing statements yesterday, Chan's lawyer, Ian Mill, described the relationship between his client and Wang as "caring and happy."

Mill said Wang had clearly shown her feelings toward the 49-year-old Chan through her desire to have a son with him, calling him husband and giving him one of her trademark pigtails. But Wang died childless.

"The plaintiff's attempt to cast doubts on the relationship between Nina Wang and my client was unfortunate and totally ill-founded," Mill said.

The lawyer also dismissed suggestions that the 2006 will held by his client was a forgery.

Chinachem Foundation's lawyers had alleged in earlier court testimony that Chan's 2006 will is a forgery, saying it is part of a feng shui ritual that is designed to prolong one's life.


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