- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2007

HONG KONG (AP) — Nina Wang, Asia’s richest woman at the time of her death, left her $4 billion fortune to a master of feng shui, the Chinese belief that fortunes can be improved by timing and the layout of objects, such as furniture, according to the man’s attorney.

The pigtailed Hong Kong businesswoman, who died last month, chose Chan Chun-chuen because he understood her personal and business philosophy, said Jonathan Midgley, a lawyer for the Haldanes firm.

The firm published a newspaper notice yesterday saying Mrs. Wang left her estate to Mr. Chan in a will dated Oct. 16, 2006.

Hong Kong press described him as a feng shui master, but Mr. Midgley said at a press conference yesterday that Mr. Chan, 48, is a real estate investor who practices feng shui as a hobby. Haldanes released a photo of Mrs. Wang and Mr. Chan together in the early 1990s.

Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of trying to achieve health, harmony and prosperity by using specific dates, numbers, building design and the placement of objects.

It was the second claim to Mrs. Wang’s fortune, estimated at $4.2 billion by Forbes magazine.

On Thursday, Hong Kong’s Next magazine published the image of a typewritten will purportedly signed by Mrs. Wang and dated July 28, 2002, leaving her fortune to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, named after her company, Chinachem Group.

In the purported will, she says she wanted the charity to set up a Chinese version of the Nobel prizes. Spokeswoman Wendy Law at the charity’s law firm, Johnson Stokes & Master, declined comment yesterday.

At the press conference, Mr. Midgley said his client “believes that he understood [Nina Wang’s] philosophy, both her personal philosophy and her philosophy in running her businesses.” Mr. Chan was not present.

The development echoes Mrs. Wang’s court battle with her father-in-law over her kidnapped husband’s estate.

Teddy Wang, who founded the Chinachem Group drug company, was abducted in 1990 as he left Hong Kong’s swank Jockey Club. The family paid a $33 million ransom but he was never returned.

Several kidnappers were caught and said Mr. Wang, 56, had been thrown into the sea from the small Chinese boat where he was held. His body was never found and he was declared dead in 1999. In his absence, Mrs. Wang built Chinachem into a real estate empire, with office towers and apartment complexes throughout Hong Kong. Her standing came under threat when Wang Din-shin challenged her claim to his son’s fortune.

Wang Din-shin said he was the sole beneficiary of Teddy Wang’s estate based on a 1968 will.

He questioned the will Mrs. Wang produced, which was dated just a month before her husband disappeared and left her everything. A Hong Kong judge ruled in November 2002 that Mrs. Wang’s will was forged.

But in 2005, Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal reversed the ruling that gave Teddy Wang’s estate to his father. Mrs. Wang was also cleared of forgery charges in December 2005.

Mrs. Wang was 69 when she died April 3, reportedly after a battle with ovarian cancer. She is survived by a younger brother and two younger sisters.

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