Family 'will try to keep Yung Kee in business'

HONG KONG • Members of one of the two families feuding over famous roast goose restaurant Yung Kee said they will try to keep the business going despite its imminent liquidation on court orders.

"No matter whose hands Yung Kee falls into, I just hope it will continue as a business," Ms Yvonne Kam, daughter of one of the two Yung Kee heirs embroiled in the ownership tussle, was quoted as saying yesterday by daily newspaper South China Morning Post.

Ms Kam, who is the financial controller of the restaurant, spoke to reporters after having the first meeting with the company's official receiver to find out more about the winding-up order imposed by the Court of Final Appeal.

The order had taken effect after Ms Kam's family, headed by her father Ronald Kam, failed to reach a share buyout deal with the family of Mr Kinsen Kam, Mr Ronald Kam's late brother.

The brothers had inherited the bulk of the 73-year-old business from their father, Yung Kee founder Kam Shui Fai, after he died in 2004. But by 2010 a bitter fight over control of the business had split the siblings.

Mr Kinsen Kam, who had 45 per cent of the estate, went to court in a bid to force his younger brother, who has 55 per cent, to buy his shares or liquidate the company.

Mr Ronald Kam, whose children now run the restaurant, offered about HK$1.1 billion (S$201 million) for the shares.

But the family of Mr Kinsen Kam, who died of cancer in 2012, believe they are entitled to HK$1.3 billion.

Mr Kinsen Kam's family had until midnight on Wednesday to respond positively to the buyout offer, failing which Yung Kee would be officially wound up.

Ms Kam said yesterday that it was too early to say what would happen next.

"It's very shocking news for us and we're extremely disappointed with how it happened," she said of the liquidation, according to the South China Morning Post.

She said she explained what was happening to senior restaurant staff on Wednesday night.

Some senior managers who had been working for the restaurant for years wept upon learning of the restaurant's demise, she said.

"We'll have to see how things go," she said, adding that she would try her best to keep the business.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'Family 'will try to keep Yung Kee in business''. Print Edition | Subscribe