Disgraced feng shui master Peter Chan Chun-chuen appeared at the High Court on Thursday to apply for permission to appeal his conviction for forging the will of late Chinachem Group chairperson Nina Wang.
The ex-guru, formerly known as Tony Chan Chun-chung, was convicted of using a “false instrument” and sentenced to 12 years in jail in 2013.
Chan emerged into Hong Kong’s limelight after the death of Nina Wang in 2007, producing pictures of the two together and a copy of a will allegedly made by Wang in 2006. The will named Chan as the sole beneficiary of Wang’s HK$83 billion estate.
Chan lost the case to Chinachem Charitable Foundation Limited in 2010 and was arrested for forging the will.
Chan was represented by barrister James Wood, after two lawyers on Chan’s legal team – Andrew Kan and Senior Counsel Alexander King – passed away this year.
Wood argued in his opening statement that the judge failed to give proper guidance to the jury and ignored the unusual circumstances surrounding the case.
Wang’s husband Teddy, the former chairman of Chinachem, disappeared in 1990 following a high-profile kidnapping. Shortly before the kidnapping, he allegedly changed his will to leave his entire fortune to his wife, according to the BBC.
Wang herself was accused of forging the will, but in 2005 was rewarded her husband’s entire fortune after a long court battle. She was Asia’s richest woman at the time of her death.
Chan said that due to these details, and a lying key witness for the prosecution, he was deprived of a fair trial.
The appeal court, presided over by Justices Robert Lunn, Poon Siu-chor and Derek Pang, requested Wood draft a set of what he considered to be proper guidelines for the prosecution – a challenge that Wood has accepted.
Chan, who is currently serving his sentence in isolation in Stanley Prison, had earlier declared himself to be a Christian and changed his name to Peter Chan after his baptism.
The case is expected to run for five days.