Monday, September 1, 2008

86-year-old fought off Lee Shau-kee

Pepere is such a good boy to check my latest entry SO SOON and sent me this news that I missed out.

A granny's 14 years long hard battle with the Tycoon finally ends with a bitter victory. Is it possible to claim damages on Mr. Lee for emotional distress!?

Her last comment is surely cute thou!


Granny took on tycoon and won
86-year-old fought off Lee Shau-kee's attempts to take the land she loves
SCMP Yau Chui-yan - Aug 31, 2008

Wong Yam-tai is still angry with property tycoon Lee Shau-kee - just as she still hates the Japanese army, which invaded Hong Kong in 1941 and ruined her family. She has just won a 14-year battle with the Henderson Land (SEHK: 0012) chairman to hold on to the land she has farmed for decades.

Ms Wong may be 86, but her memory is crystal clear. She remembers her colourful life peppered with injustice - from the Japanese army insulting her parents to the long days in court during legal battles since 1994 to keep the land she has lived on for more than half a century.

"Are you questioning me like in the court?" she shouted at the Sunday Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) when asked a question.

Her hearing was damaged by the noise of construction work near her Tai Po home a few years ago, leaving only her left ear working properly.

But her other ear still works well: she can clearly hear financial news on television - especially when Mr Lee, owner of developer Henderson Land, is on the screen. "She trembled every time she saw Lee Shau-kee on TV," said daughter, Kitty Chan Suk-yin.

"Lee Shau-kee has so much money. How come he does this to me? Everyone said he is helpful to the public. How can I laugh when someone is saying this?" Ms Wong said, weeping. "I have no shoes, no gloves; people look down on me."

A grass-roots fight against a Hong Kong tycoon may be a fascinating spectacle for the public, but for those at the centre of it the experience has been far from enjoyable.

In recent years, Ms Wong's only trips away from her treasured home have been to the Court of Final Appeal in Admiralty. Buses make her ill, so she must travel by taxi.

Despite her advanced age, she still works on her farm every day, fighting off wild pigs and monkeys that come to eat the organic vegetables and fruit on her land.

Ms Wong walks rapidly around her property, using a cane fashioned from a tree branch. "I need to hold this to kill those snakes that bite my dogs," she said.

Some of her toughness is drawn from her faith. "I believe in Jesus Christ. I was baptised when I was eight."

Toughness also comes from her life experiences. Her family's property was taken by the Japanese army.

"I was in a well-off family before they [Japanese soldiers] came to attack us," she said.

The scars left by the Japanese invasion obviously run deep: she continually mentioned the experience during her two-hour interview with the Post.

"My first husband was a rich guy, because he had land," she said.

In her 30s, she turned the land into a farm and a home for four children - working with bare hands beside her first husband. The land is a memory of their love.

"But then he died of a heart attack after the business started to fail, and left me with four kids. It is miserable to be a widow with four kids. My eldest son was knowledgeable, but he died in his 30s."

The land is also a memory of her love for her second husband, who worked on the farm before he died.

"I loved both my husbands deeply," she said. Her second husband died a few years after the marriage, leaving her with a boy and a girl - Zack Chan Cheong-yin and Kitty, both of whom still live with their mother in the small, three-bedroom brick house she built.

Her children have great respect for their tough mother. They call her their idol, saying her courage and persistence encouraged them during the long court case. "My mother has fans. Some people affected by similar court cases come to visit my mother and seek advice," Zack Chan said.

But the grandmother of 10 has her own idol - she is a fan of legislator and activist "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung. "He speaks for the poor," she said.

Despite her discontent with Mr Lee, Ms Wong believes her life is blessed: "No matter if I'd won or lost the case, I'd still be happy."


Anonymous said...

I like this story. Good for her. I never like that guy, especially when he talks about stocks and messes everything up and gives people high hopes with the resulting bad falls. Sometimes, people like him should have compassion with small persons like Ms. Wong (though that sounds condescending, thats the way it is!)

C+ said...

I am Mr. Lee is a compassionate person as long as his sympathy doesn't cost him an property development project... HA HA HA

If Ms Wong lost her case after several appeals from Mr Lee's side I would had protest in Henderson HQ for sure!! :P

Clicky Web Analytics