Date
16 October 2018
Prof. Gregory Chow receives an offer for a property in Sheung Wan that he didn't know he owns until a buyer called him. Photo: Bloomberg/Internet
Prof. Gregory Chow receives an offer for a property in Sheung Wan that he didn't know he owns until a buyer called him. Photo: Bloomberg/Internet

Princeton professor’s unexpected windfall from Sheung Wan

Princeton University economics professor Gregory Chow Chi-chong didn’t win this year’s Nobel Prize, although he most probably was not expecting it anyway, but he got a startling news instead.

Prof. Chow, who is famous for his “Chow test” – please don’t ask me what it is because I have long forgotten his lectures in an econometrics class I used to attend – is about to receive a totally unexpected windfall from his family estate in Sheung Wan.

According to a court writ, Chow recently applied to revive a company called Man Fung Land Investment, of which his late father owned 4 percent, representing a small subdivided lot at Man Fung Building on 101-102 Connaught Road West in Sheung Wan.

How small? It’s about 7.25 feet by 15.75 feet, or 114 square feet, as sharp-eyed corporate activist and mathematics whiz David Webb noted in his Webb-site Reports.

Now an interested party, represented by a Mr. Amos Chan, wants to buy this teeny-weeny piece of property, which is key to redeveloping the Man Fung Building, for HK$6.5 million.

It does not take an economist to figure out the offered price is way below the asset’s true value. Although Chan is offering HK$5,700 per square foot, he is actually paying only HK$3,800 per square foot because the property will have a gross floor area of 1,713 square feet at 15 times plot ratio, according to Webb.

And our 87-year-old Princeton professor, who left Hong Kong in 1948, should also be aware that the land he owns is essential to the property’s redevelopment.

We just hope he doesn’t forget to pay his tax in the United States – unless he wants to follow the example of Hong Kong-born Prof. Stephen Cheung Ng-sheong, another economist and Nobel Prize candidate, who moved to Shenzhen after he was charged with failure to report overseas income as an American citizen.

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CG

EJ Insight writer

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