HONOUR FINANCE COMPANY LIMITED v. CHU MEI MEI

HCA002252A/1988

1988, No. A2252

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF HONG KONG

HIGH COURT

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BETWEEN

HONOUR FINANCE COMPANY LIMITED

Plaintiff

and

CHUI MEI MEI

Defendant

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Coram: The Hon. Mr. Justice Godfrey in Court

Date of Hearing: 2nd February 1989

Date of Delivery of Judgment: 2nd February 1989

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J U D G M E N T

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1. I now have to consider the position which has arisen since I reserved judgment in this matter on 10th January 1989. I have now givenjudgment, dismissing the first appeal, and I have been told by the Plaintiff that it is the Plaintiff’s intention to appeal againstmy decision.

2. The Plaintiff does not consider that leave to appear is required; but I have indicated that, if that be wrong, and leave to appealis in fact required, I am prepared to grant that leave. The point at issue is plainly one which ought, in my judgment, to be consideredby the Court of Appeal, if an invitation is extended to that Court to deal with it.

3. As to the second appeal, the question is whether I should now grant a further prohibition order, in the light of the intention expressedby the Plaintiff of its desire to appeal my decision on the first appeal and in the light of the other circumstances as they nowprevail.

4. On 10th January 1989 I accepted an undertaking from the Defendant to file an affirmation making full disclosure of all her assets,liabilities, income and expenditure and of the disposal of any assets or income since 25th March 1988. In some ways, the affirmation,which has been filed, goes further than that and deals with matters which occurred before 25th March 1988.

5. On the other hand, Mr. Sujanani for the Plaintiff has drawn attention to a number of points in the affirmation which he says, cryout for further examination; and he invites me to give him an opportunity to cross-examine the Defendant upon her affirmation beforeI decide finally what to do about the prohibition order. In particular, of course, he wants the prohibition order continued so asto ensure that the Defendant is present in Hong Kong on the date fixed for any such cross-examination.

6. I have come to the conclusion that that is, on the fade of it, a reasonable request. On the other side, it is pointed out that theDefendant has had and will continue to have considerable difficulties with the Indonesian authorities if she is unable to complywith their requirements by the date when she should return to Indonesia.

7. Further, as was apparent from the evidence before me when I heard the matter on 10th January 1989, the Defendant is suffering considerablepersonal and emotional difficulties by being kept here; her marriage is threatened by her absence. She has already suffered a miscarriageand the relationship between her husband and herself is inevitably under strain.

8. I have to do justice both to the Plaintiff and to the Defendant. I cannot allow my personal sympathy for the Defendant to out weighthe need to act accordingly.

9. The Plaintiff is prepared to undertake to prosecute its appeal with due diligence and is prepared to lodge its notice of appeal notlater than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, 10th February 1989.

10. I assume that it will be prepared, if I ask it to do so, to take all steps necessary to obtain an early hearing of its appeal aspart of its undertaking to prosecute the appeal with due diligence.

11. The time for the Defendant to satisfy the Indonesian authorities as to their requirements does not expire until April 1989. Balancingthe doubts I have about the adequacy of the Defendant’s disclosure against the personal difficulties in which she finds herself,I come to the conclusion, with great reluctance, that I ought to extend this order for one further month.

12. The cross-examination which is to take place here must take place as soon as possible. The Plaintiff must obtain a date for cross-examinationof the Defendant upon her affirmation within a period of two weeks from today, so that the cross-examination will in fact take placenot later than 16th February 1989. That means an application must be made to the Clerk of Court for a date between 9th February 1989and 16th February 1989 to be appointed forthat cross-examination. If the Plaintiff encounters difficulty in obtaining a date fromthe Clerk of Court, it must undertake to follow the matter up with the listing Master and, failing him, the listing Judge; becauseif no date has been obtained for the hearing of the cross-examination and if that hearing has not been fixed for a date prior to16th February 1989, I intend to give the Defendant liberty to apply on two days’ notice to discharge the prohibition order. I willthen re-consider the whole matter again. My intention, therefore, is to extend the prohibition order for a period of one month fromtoday, and to give the Defendant liberty to apply, on any date after 16th February 1989, to discharge that order on two days’ noticeto the Plaintiff.

13. In the meantime, the undertaking given by the Defendant not to dispose of any of her assets in Hong Kong up to $810,000 without theconsent of the Plaintiff or the leave of the Court must be continued, or I will grant an injunction in similar terms.

(G. M. Godfrey)

Judge of the High Court

Representation:

Mr. R. Sujanani instructed by Messrs. Woo, Kwan, Lee & Lo for the Plaintiff.

Mr. Rimsky Yuen instructed by Messrs. So & Karbhari for the Defendant.