Hong Kong celebrity tutor who switches to rival centre sued by former employer for S$6.4m

Patrick Chan left Modern Education tuition centre, where he worked for nearly two decades, for Beacon College.
Patrick Chan left Modern Education tuition centre, where he worked for nearly two decades, for Beacon College.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ PCHAN ENGLISH

A celebrity tutor in Hong Kong is reportedly being sued for at least HK$36 million (S$6.4 million) for alleged copyright infringement after he moved to a rival tuition centre, Hong Kong news outlets reported.

Patrick Chan announced on Facebook on July 1 that he was leaving tuition centre Modern Education after working there "for almost two decades".

He said "changes in management and personnel dragged me away from the company in terms of vision and mission".

He is now reportedly with rival tuition centre Beacon College.

However, Modern Education asked for HK$36.3 million from Mr Chan, its former English tutor, in payment for an end of contract gratuity, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post said in a report on Monday (July 10).

The writ was filed in High Court on Monday, according to SCMP.

Modern Education is owned by Hong Kong Education Investments Limited, said to be the first education service provider listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The tuition provider also sought unspecified damages for an alleged breach of contract, a third party copyright infringement, plus interest and legal costs.

Celebrity tutors are common in Hong Kong and highly sought after.

They are turned into celebrities by their employers - "cramming centres" like Modern Education - who advertise their images on buses, at train stations and on billboards, the New York Times previously reported.

A tutor at Modern Education told NYT last year that some of the company's most popular tutors earn "millions of dollars a year".