Hong Kong's richest woman 'forged her husband's will'

Hong Kong's richest woman, Nina Wang, was formally charged yesterday with forging her late husband's will in an attempt to inherit his HK$1bn (£68m) estate.

Mrs Wang, 68, who is nicknamed "little Sweetie" for her trademark attire, appeared in court wearing a maroon jacket and black mini-skirt, to hear charges of forgery and perverting the course of justice.

This is the latest twist in a drama that began 14 years ago when Mrs Wang's husband, Teddy, a multi-millionaire property developer, was kidnapped outside the Hong Kong racecourse. Despite his family paying a ransom of £33m dollars he was never seen again and he was declared legally dead in 1999.

After her husband's disappearance, Mrs Wang took over the running of his company Chinachem Group, building it into one of Hong Kong's largest private companies and becoming one of the richest women in the world in the process. Last year Forbes magazine estimated her wealth at $2.3bn (£1.2bn).

But in 2002, after a hearing lasting nearly six months, a court ruled that a will that appeared to have been handwritten by Teddy Wang a month before his disappearance, leaving his entire fortune to his wife, had been falsified.

The court ruled that Mr Wang's estate should pass into the hands of his father, Wan Dinshin, but allowed Mrs Wang the right to appeal. A date has yet to be set for this hearing.

In the meantime, Mrs Wang and her father-in-law, who is now 93, have been locked in an acrimonious dispute over her late husband's millions in a saga of high finance, sex and deceit that has gripped Hong Kong society.

Mr Wang's original will, written in 1960, split his estate equally between the two parties. But in 1968, angry at his wife's alleged infidelity, he struck her out of the will and made his father the sole beneficiary. This is the will that is currently legally valid.

The 1990 will, which ended with the words "one life, one love", was declared a forgery by the judge who wondered why he should use those words when "the evidence before the court suggested Teddy was not a romantic person at all."

In a 576-page ruling, he decided that parts of the 1990 will had "probably" been written by Mrs Wang, who once boasted of her ability to forge her husband's handwriting. Mrs Wang was subsequently arrested on forgery charges, but later released.

The couple were childhood sweethearts who married in 1955. Mr Wang started in the chemical business and moved into property, financing many of the high-rise buildings of Hong Kong's famous skyline.

After Mr Wang's disappearance, his wife became famous both for her frugality - spending just a few hundred dollars a month on herself - and her grandiose business plans. The latter included a scheme for the world's largest tower block which, although dedicated to her missing husband, was to be called the Nina Tower. It was, however, never built because the proposed site was too close to an airport.

Mrs Wang, who did not enter a plea, was granted bail of HK$55m and was ordered to appear in court again on 23 March. In a statement, her lawyers said that she "now has the opportunity to establish her innocence in court".

Suggested Topics
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MS Dynamics NAV Developer

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: MS Dynamics NAV...

Technical / Engineering Manager - West Yorkshire - £50k+

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: The company ...

MS Dynamics NAV Developer

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: **MS Dynamics N...

Data Analytics Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading organisation...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star