SCMP Thursday, August 16, 2001

Father denies rift with tycoon over debt claim


The father of missing tycoon Teddy Wang Teh-huei told a probate hearing yesterday he and his son were of "one heart and one soul" in their personal and business relationships.
Wang Din-shin, 89, said his son was a competent and smart businessman who took over his Chinachem Group gradually after being expelled from school in the 1950s.
Mr Wang - who has admitted going to opium dens and womanising in his younger days - vehemently denied his son lost patience with him and forced him to resign the company's directorship after he ran up huge debts with the Bank of Canton through stock market speculation.
"I've never owed anyone any money - not even a cent," he said.
The claim was made by his daughter-in-law, Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, in a sworn statement submitted to the Court of First Instance during the legal battle over Teddy Wang's estate, estimated to be worth several billion dollars.
Teddy Wang, 56, was abducted on April 10, 1990, and has not been seen or heard of since. Mr Justice David Yam Yee-kwan declared him legally dead on September 22, 1999.
Mr Wang said he retired in 1977 on his own initiative and denied suggestions his son forced him to do so. "It is wrong because we were of one heart and one soul, having this father-and-son relationship, and prior to that [his retirement], we dealt with the business together," he said.
Mr Wang said even after he retired, his son still came to him for advice.
He said he found out later that all his shares with Chinachem had been donated elsewhere by his daughter-in-law. No further details were given.
The court heard that after leaving school Teddy Wang helped his father handle correspondence in English and gradually developed an interest in the business.
"I passed everything . . . in the company to my son. I trusted him 100 per cent," Mr Wang said. "He was very meticulous in dealing with documents. He was very careful and never made mistakes."
Mr Wang is seeking a declaration that a 1968 will, kept in a safe deposit box with the Bank of America (Asia), which names him the sole beneficiary, is valid and duly executed.
However, Ms Wang, who took over as chairwoman of Chinachem Group, claims a four-page Chinese will dated March 12, 1990, appoints her the beneficiary and administrator.
When barrister Edward Chan King-sang, SC, for Mr Wang, read out a page from the 1990 will, which said "One life, one love", Mr Wang giggled and said: "[Teddy] was a workaholic and he was very smart in keeping money. He would never behave like that."
Mr Wang also laughed when Mr Chan read out another page in which Teddy Wang was said to have accused his family of disappointing him, saying they should not be entitled to any of his estate. He said Teddy Wang had a good relationship with his parents and younger brothers and sisters.
Mr Wang said his son had invited his mother to stay at his home a week before his kidnap and had told her on the day he disappeared he would be back early.
He said neither Teddy Wang nor anyone else had ever said his son had made the 1990 will.
Mr Wang said his son usually signed documents in English rather than Chinese. The court has heard the 1990 will was signed in Chinese.
Mr Wang is due to continue his testimony today.