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Feng shui master jailed over late Hong Kong tycoon's will

By Peter Shadbolt, CNN
updated 5:02 AM EDT, Fri July 5, 2013
Peter Chan Chun-chuen sits inside a prison van after being convicted of forgery by a Hong Kong court.
Peter Chan Chun-chuen sits inside a prison van after being convicted of forgery by a Hong Kong court.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former lover of billionaire Nina Wang, Peter Chan, sentenced to 12 years' jail for forgery
  • Chan, 53, claimed he was employed as a feng shui master by Wang to find her missing husband
  • He claimed Wang's will had made him the main beneficiary of her $4 billion fortune
  • Justice Andrew Macrae in sentencing describes Chan as a "clever and beguiling charlatan"

Hong Kong (CNN) -- The former lover and feng shui master to one of Asia's wealthiest women has been sentenced to 12 years in jail after being found guilty of forging a will that made him the beneficiary of her multi-billion-dollar fortune following a long-running case that transfixed Hong Kong.

Peter Chan Chun-chuen, 53, formerly known as Tony Chan, was convicted on Friday after a jury found him guilty of forging the will of the eccentric billionaire widow Nina Wang, according to a statement from Hong Kong's Court of First Instance.

He was also found guilty of a further charge of using a false instrument after the eight-member jury returned its verdict on Thursday after deliberating for two days.

In his reasons for sentencing, Justice Andrew Macrae said Chan had shown "not the slightest remorse" for his conduct.

"I have no doubt from the evidence I have heard that you are nothing more than a clever and no doubt beguiling charlatan," he said in his judgment.

Wang, the heiress known for her iconic pigtail braids and nicknamed "Little Sweetie," died of cancer in 2007. After her death, a will was presented by Chan, who claimed he had been her confidante and lover for over 14 years. The will stipulated that her estate, valued at $4 billion, go to him.

Wang's family disputed the will, allegedly signed by her in 2006, and a court finally dismissed the claims to the inheritance in 2011, ruling in favor of a charity run by Wang's siblings, Chinachem Charitable Foundation Ltd.

I have no doubt from the evidence I have heard that you are nothing more than a clever and no doubt beguiling charlatan
Justice Andrew Macrae

In a long-running case that often seemed like a soap opera, the court heard details about the bizarre rituals associated with feng shui, adultery and the long love affair between one of Asia's most eccentric tycoons and a man 23 years her junior.

Wang was the widow of Hong Kong industrialist Teddy Wang, who was kidnapped in 1990 and has never been seen since. Authorities declared him legally dead in 1999.

The Wangs' Chinachem Group earned the family billions in property deals and was Hong Kong's largest private property developer. Chan, a former bartender and self-taught feng shui master, who is married with children, told the court Wang hired him in 1992 to find her missing husband.

During testimony, the court heard how Wang ordered contractors to dig as many as 80 feng shui holes to be filled with pieces of jade at properties owned by Chinachem Group, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

Feng shui -- which literally translates as "wind-water" in English -- is a Chinese system of geomancy or divination that relies strongly on the orientation of buildings or objects to retain auspicious "qi" or energy. Many corporate buildings in Hong Kong are situated according to the tenets of feng shui.

A court judgment said Chan had received about HK$2.1billion ($27 million) from her between 2005 and 2006. His lawyers contended the payments were intended to groom him for managing her estate.

The South China Morning Post reported that Chan had recently renounced the practice of feng shui and converted to Christianity, also changing his name to Peter Chan.

Reports said the court heard for the first time how Chan had 10 previous criminal convictions relating to credit cards applications in which he claimed to be a qualified medical doctor working in public hospitals.

He was fined $HK20,000 ($2,600) in 1986 after pleading guilty to 10 counts, including obtaining property by deception and obtaining services by deception.

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