Chan Chun-chuen, the geomancer and lover of late Hong Kong property tycoon Nina Wang, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for forging a 2006 will that made him the beneficiary of her $10.7 billion fortune.
“The forging of a will is particularly mean,” because the person is dead and can’t speak to the true intention, Judge Andrew Macrae said today before reading out the sentence. Chan was convicted by a jury of eight last night on two charges and faced a maximum jail term of 14 years for each.
Chan lost a five-year legal battle for Wang’s estimated HK$83 billion ($10.7 billion) fortune in 2011, with the will in his favor found to be a forgery and the estate awarded to Wang’s charity foundation. Wang, once Asia’s richest woman, who died from uterine cancer in 2007, had herself fought her father-in-law for six years over the fortune.
Chan had argued that Wang left him the money in part because they had been lovers for 15 years. Chan, who is married with children, said he was hired by Wang in 1992 to help find her husband, Teddy, who had been kidnapped for a second time in 1990. Teddy Wang was declared legally dead in 1999 and his body was never found.
Chan dug holes at various sites owned by the Chinachem Group for seven years in his role as Wang’s feng shui adviser or geomancer, receiving about HK$2.1 billion from her between 2005 and 2006, according to a court judgment. His lawyers said the payments were intended to groom him for managing her estate.
Feng shui, literally translated as “wind and water,” is a 5,000-year-old Chinese practice of arranging the physical environment to harmonize with the daily lives of people who live within it. Feng shui masters used the practice to advise emperors on the best locations for their palaces and tombs.
Chan recently renounced the practice and converted to Christianity, and said he prayed on Wednesday while the jury spent more than nine hours considering its verdict, the South China Morning Post reported.
The case is Hong Kong SAR v. Chan Chun Chuen, HCCC182/2012 in the Hong Kong Court of First Instance.
To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Lee in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at email@example.com