22 October 2016
A family feud has festered for years over Yung Kee Restaurant. Photo: HKEJ
A family feud has festered for years over Yung Kee Restaurant. Photo: HKEJ

Yung Kee’s goose may be cooked as wind-up order looms

The days are numbered for the family feud over Yung Kee Restaurant.

The Court of Final Appeal has ruled that the eatery in Central, famous for its roast goose, be wound up.

But before the ruling takes effect, the court has allowed 28 more days for the long-running battle over the restaurant between two sons of its late founder to be resolved by one side buying out the other, Metro Daily Hong Kong reported Thursday. 

The top court’s judges agreed it was the wish of Kam Shui-fai to let his two sons co-manage the family business.

However, younger brother Ronald Kam Kwan-lai violated that wish by failing to consult elder brother Kinsen Kam Kwan-sing properly on the restaurant’s management, the court ruled Wednesday.

Kinsen, who died in 2012, held a 45 percent stake and Ronald holds a 55 percent stake in Yung Kee Holdings Ltd., a subsidiary of which operates the restaurant.

The judges ruled that although the firm was registered in the British Virgin Islands and hence not within the jurisdiction of Hong Kong courts, the shareholders, directors, subsidiary companies and disputes were in Hong Kong.

Local courts, therefore, could issue a winding-up order under the Companies Ordinance.

Kinsen filed a petition for winding-up five years ago, which was rejected in court, as was his subsequent appeal.

His widow, Leung Sui-kwan, then filed an appeal to the top court.

The two sides held separate news briefings after the judgment.

Ronald’s son Carrel Kam Lin-wang, told reporters his side had made an offer to buy Kinsen’s 45 percent stake but it was rejected.

Carrel said the other side merely wanted to raise the price further.

Meanwhile, Kinsen’s son Hardy Kam Shun-yuen said he was pleased by the court ruling and felt justice has prevailed.

Hardy said his side had made an offer to Ronald in June but it was rejected and no counter-offers had been made.

Based on a valuation of about HK$2 billion for Yung Kee’s assets in 2012, Kinsen’s side was believed to have asked for HK$900 million for its 45 percent stake.

Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung said the court’s ruling could become an important and authoritative guiding one in similar disputes.

The automatic winding-up process will begin if both parties fail to reach an agreement.

However, since Yung Kee Restaurant is run by a subsidiary of the parent firm, there will be no interruptions to its day-to-day operations even if a winding-up order is in progress.

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