IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CIVIL ACTION NO. 7530 OF 2001
Coram : Deputy District Judge Wesley Wong in Court
Dates of Hearing : 11th – 13th April 2006
Date of Handing Down Judgment : 28th April 2006
The Plaintiff’s Claim
1. The Plaintiff is a company incorporated in China. The Defendant is and was a shareholder and director of a limited company incorporatedin Hong Kong known as Seco (HK) Ltd. He held 1000 shares in Seco (HK) Ltd.
2. Seco (HK) Ltd. is a company formed to sell the Plaintiff’s products through Hong Kong. On 18 August 1998 the Defendant agreedto sell his 1000 shares to the Plaintiff for $70,000.00. The Plaintiff issued a post-dated cheque in the sum of $70,000 drawn onthe Hong Kong Company’s account and post-dated to the 15 October 1998. The Defendant duly acknowledged receipt and agreed to transferhis shares to the Plaintiff. The Defendant has failed to transfer his shares to the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff sued the Defendantfor specific performance of that agreement.
3. The Defendant admitted that he had agreed to sell his shares and had issued a receipt to that effect. However a few days afterthe 15 August 1998 the Defendant said the payment was irregular and illogical and the agreement was rescinded by mutual consent. The post-dated cheque was to be treated as a loan.
4. The issues are simple.
5. There is no dispute that the Defendant agreed to sell and signed a memorandum to that effect. The only issues are:-
6. Mr. Zhang for the Plaintiff denied that there was a meeting to talk about the loan. He said that the money kept by the Hong KongCompany is the proceeds of sale held by the Hong Kong Company on behalf of the Plaintiff.
7. After the Defendant failed to transfer his shares Zhang asked the Plaintiff’s other shareholder a Mr. Cui to contact the Defendantto honour his promise but the Defendant could not be contacted as he was in a factory in China.
8. On 18 September 1999 they managed to find the Defendant. The Defendant apologized and promised to go back to Hong Kong to complywith the formalities but he never did.
9. The Defendant gave evidence and said that he never participated in the running of the Hong Kong Company and did not know whetherthe Hong Kong Company made any profit or loss. In 1995 he helped Zhang and Cui to set up his Hong Kong Company to deal with thePlaintiff’s overseas customers. He was not involved in the dealing with the overseas customers. The Hong Kong Company would keepcash belonging to the Plaintiff. He had no authority to deal with the Hong Kong Company’s financial matters. He had no functionin the Hong Kong Company.
10. Between 1995 and 1998 he had a lot of business. He ran factories and karaoke. In 1997 he was having financial difficulty. Hisfinancial situation was in a mess and had to borrow from friends and brothers to pay for his workers wages and his mortgages. Hewas in need of cash in August 1998.
11. He said he had never asked the Plaintiff for money because of financial difficulty although in his witness statement para 7 he statedthat “Sometime in or about August 1998 I met Mr. Cui and Mr. Zhang in Shenzhen, China. As I was in financial difficulty at thattime I asked Mr. Cui and Mr. Zhang for a loan.”
Evaluation of Evidence
12. I have carefully considered all the evidence. I preferred the evidence given by Zhang because they are supported by documentaryevidence.
13. On the other hand the Defendant’s evidence is not reliable in many aspects. He said there was an agreement for a loan but thereis no document to support that. Had there been a rescission why the receipt he acknowledged in respect of the selling of his sharesnot destroyed or returned. Further I doubt if there is any basis for him to say he asked for a loan. In cross-examination he agreedwith counsel that he had never asked the Plaintiff for money because of financial difficulty. This is contradictory to his statementin the case he pleaded.
14. Further there is no substance in saying that the Plaintiff used his money to purchase his shares because he agreed that the HongKong Company could keep cash belonging to the Plaintiff.
15. In any event even if there was any variation as alleged there was no consideration given.
16. For reasons aforesaid I find on balance that the Defendant has not rescinded the transfer of shares transaction and that there wasno loan agreement as alleged. In any event there was no consideration for the loan agreement.
17. In the premises there be judgment for the Plaintiff for specific performance of the transfer of shares agreement. Order nisi: Coststo the Plaintiff. Certificate for counsel.
Mr. Raymond W.K. Fong instructed by Messrs. Chiu, Szeto & Cheng for the Plaintiff.
Mr. Normal Yeung of Messrs. T.L. Ip & Co. for the Defendant.