Man loses claim over $14m house

SINGAPORE - A 72-year-old man's attempt to claim a $14 million Coronation Road bungalow as his own was thrown out after he failed to prove that the rest of his family members were holding their shares in trust for him.

Mr Quek Hung Heong was also told by the High Court that he should not have waited so long to push his claim.

The landed property, which is just over 1,000 sq m, was bought by Mr Quek, his two siblings and their parents for $66,000 some 47 years ago in equal shares. This purchase was funded by the family's company.

Mr Quek's father died in 1981, and his mother five years later. His older brother Kwek Hann Song died in 2006.

Out of the five original owners, only he and his 77-year-old sister are alive today. The parents' shares in the bungalow were willed to two of Mr Kwek's sons. Mr Kwek's own share was divided among his six children.

But in 2011, Mr Quek went to court to claim everyone else's shares back, insisting that he had been the one to ultimately pay for the house's purchase.

He said that in 1966, the year the house was bought, his father held a family meeting. During this gathering, the family members allegedly came to this arrangement: In return for Mr Quek re-paying most of the cost for the house to the family company, they will transfer their interest in the bungalow to him.

His lawyer Burton Chen argued that because of this family arrangement, Mr Quek owned the entire beneficial interest in the property. The elder sister decided not to contest the claim, and in 2012, to hand over her 20 per cent share to Mr Quek.

But Mr Kwek's widow, Madam Tan Bee Hoon, fought the suit. Defended by lawyer Hee Theng Fong, she denied that there had been any such family arrangement. She also disputed Mr Quek's claim that his loan repayments were linked to the purchase of the house.

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