Hong Kong ‘house husband’ wins right to have his case heard in England

News|March 21st 2014

A former Hong Kong banker who gave up his career to help his more successful wife has won the right have to have his divorce heard in the English courts.

Weng Choy was married to wife Lena Tan for 15 years and the wealthy couple enjoyed a multinational lifestyle, with a fortune estimated at £11 million and homes in Hong Kong, Malaysia and London. Their two songs attended English boarding schools, the Telegraph reports.

The couple split in 2012 following a row and Mr Choy filed for divorce in the English courts. He claimed to have abandoned his own career to help raise their children while his wife pursued her career a hedge fund manager.

Meanwhile, his wife launched her own divorce proceedings in Hong Kong and claimed the English courts did not have jurisdiction to hear her husband’s claim.

The High Court ruled last year that her husband had been habitually resident in the UK for a year before he launched his proceedings, so the English courts did have jurisdiction.

Mrs Tan appealed the decision, with her legal team arguing that the couple’s habitual residence had actually been Hong Kong in the period leading up their separation.

But Mr Choy’s barrister, Timothy Bishop QC, denied this, telling the court:

“They owned property, they had homes in a number of countries – England, Singapore and Malaysia…but the jewel in the crown of their assets was the South Kensington apartment, worth £4-£4.75m, never mortgaged, never let out.  After the marriage broke down…the husband’s centre of interests ceased to be dictated by the wife’s working life”.

The Court of Appeal has now ruled in Mr Choy’s favour. Lady Justice Macur said London had been the husband’s “permanent and stable” home for the 12 months before he filed, making the English courts the “appropriate forum” for the couple’s divorce proceedings.

Photo of Hong Kong by chensiyuan via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence 


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