Date
20 August 2017
Property tycoon Joseph Lau is transferring some pricey assets to his would-be wife Kimbie Chan and his eldest son Lau Ming-wai. Photos: HKEJ, CNSA
Property tycoon Joseph Lau is transferring some pricey assets to his would-be wife Kimbie Chan and his eldest son Lau Ming-wai. Photos: HKEJ, CNSA

Santa Joseph delivers property gifts to fiancée and son

Christmas has come early for tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung’s fiancée and his eldest son.

According to an announcement from Chinese Estates Holdings, Joseph Lau’s 35-year-old son, Lau Ming-wai, will get some Lo Wu Commercial Tower units worth around HK$500 million.

Under the plan, the units will be sold to a private company controlled by Ming-wai, who is the chairperson of the listed property firm.

Joseph Lau’s fiancée, Kimbie Chan, will get even more. Chinese Estates will sell her a mid-level luxury property project — Shiu Fai Terrace — which is due to be completed in the first half next year.

The deals are part of a series of connected transactions, initiated in 2014, that are aimed at transferring some pricey assets back to the family of the controlling shareholder.

Last Christmas, Joseph Lau had Chinese Estates sell a prime Causeway Bay property — Windsor House — to himself in a HK$12 billion deal.

Lau, who owns nearly 75 per cent of the listed flagship, has sought to distribute special dividends to his shareholders after the transactions.

The latest deals come three weeks after a high-profile announcement from the 65-year-old tycoon that he has cut ties with ex-girlfriend Yvonne Lui.

In media interviews, Lau described Yvonne as being greedy and wanting more even though he had given her about HK$2 billion in cash, property and other gifts during their relationship until 2014.

In contrast, his current partner Kimbie was portrayed as a caring and honest woman.

Next, we came to know that Lau and Kimbie filed papers with the marriage registry, declaring their intention to enter into matrimony.

Now, in a move to keep his assets out of the reach of Lui – and learning lessons from court battles of fellow tycoons — Lau is speeding up the process of dividing his estate among his loved ones.

According to some estimates, the property billionaire’s fortune amounts to almost HK$100 billion.

Lau revealed to the media that he gave HK$5 billion cash each to his son Ming-wai and girlfriend Kimbie after recovering from a kidney transplant.

Hence, they both now have the money to buy the assets that Chinese Estates is offloading.

In what seems like a wedding gift, Kimbie will get a renovated “castle” with a gross residential area of 41,000 square feet in a traditional luxury zone in Mid-Levels.

Chinese Estates assigned an appraisal value of HK$905 million, or HK$26,000 per square feet, for the property.

Lau also gifted Kimbie a portfolio of pricey houses that include units located in Gough Hill Path, Goldsmith Road and Deep Water Bay, according to Apple Daily.

It is interesting to note that Lau appears to have no hesitation in giving large gifts to Kimbie, who once worked as an entertainment reporter with Jimmy Lai’s Next Media.

The gifts are a bit ironic as Lau has dubbed his partner as someone who doesn’t care much about money.

But we shouldn’t be surprised given his penchant for extravagance, be it buying a private Dreamliner jet, grabbing expensive items at Sotheby’s or becoming the No.1 client for Hermes in Asia.

According to reports, Hermes has designated a production line for Lau and his family members as the tycoon had spent over HK$300 million in buying things from the French luxury brand, including 700 handbags for Kimbie.

Thanks to Santa Joseph, we now have a rather non-traditional definition of Christmas gifts, but the spirit remains the same – it is much better to give than to receive.

Amen.

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BK/AC/RC

EJ Insight writer

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