Chan Siew Fong v Chan Fook Kee

CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeChao Hick Tin JA
Judgment Date17 January 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGCA 4
Citation[2002] SGCA 4
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 600032 of
Defendant CounselJohn Tan (instructed) and Low Wee Jee (Thomas Tham & Co)
Plaintiff CounselAmarjit Kour d/o Balwant Singh (Peter Low Tang & Belinda Ang)
Date17 January 2002
Published date19 September 2003
Subject MatterJust and equitable division,Factors to be taken into account,Family Law,s 112 Women's Charter (Cap 353, 1997 Ed),Whether to award matrimonial home solely to wife,Direct and indirect contributions,Distribution of proceeds of sale of matrimonial home,Matrimonial home,Division



1. This appeal concerned the division of a matrimonial asset, which is the apartment known as 30 Ah Hood Road, #12-02 Nadia Mansions, Singapore, between a former married couple, namely, the appellant, Madam Chan Siew Fong, and the respondent, Mr Chan Fook Kee, following the dissolution of their marriage. The district court, which heard the ancillary matters in the divorce proceedings, ordered, inter alia, that the apartment be sold in the open market and that the sale proceeds, after payment of the outstanding mortgage loan and the expenses incurred in the sale, be divided in the proportion of 65% to the appellant and 35% to the respondent. On appeal, the High Court increased the share of the appellant to 80% of the net balance and reduced the share of the respondent to 20%, and in all other respects affirmed the order below. Against this decision, the appellant appealed contending that, on the basis of a just and equitable division under s 112 of the Women’s Charter (Cap 353, 1997 ed), the entire property should be awarded to her solely. We allowed the appeal and now give our reasons.

Background facts

2. The appellant and the respondent first met while they were both working in a textile company: he was then the manager and she was his assistant. After they had known each other for about three months, they both left the employment of the company at the same time. The appellant went to work as a nurse in a governmental hospital at Thomson Road, while the respondent proceeded to set up his own business. He started his own textile business trading in garments sometime in January 1969. The appellant assisted the respondent in the setting up of his business by, among other things, providing him with some monies, which she had saved. The respondent persuaded the appellant to resign from her job as a nurse and to assist him in his business, which she later agreed. They were married on 23 June 1969.

3. The respondent registered his business under the name and style of International Industrial & Trading Company on 1 July 1969. The appellant started to work for the respondent at about that time. She took on a variety of roles, from designing the garments and marketing the company’s products to handling the company’s secretarial and accounting needs. In 1971, the respondent extended his business into manufacturing garments and set up a factory of which the appellant took charge. From 1971 to 1977, she worked and lived in the factory. Through her initiatives and creativity, she ‘invented’ a novel management method, the ‘Colour-Dotted Management Method’, which boosted the productivity of the factory. The business grew and at one stage the respondent had over 20 employees. For all the work she did, the appellant was not paid a salary or staff allowance. Nor was she given a share of the profits.

4. They have three children, two sons born on 12 December 1970 and 24 May 1972, and one daughter born on 11 August 1973. All of them are above 21 years old. Both their sons graduated from a polytechnic, and their daughter completed her university education. The appellant is 54 years old and the respondent 60 years.

5. In late 1977 or thereabouts, the appellant discovered that the respondent had an affair with a seamstress in his employ. She left the business but continued to maintain the marriage for the sake of the children. She became a private tutor, giving tuition to students over extremely long hours at her residence. Apart from giving private tuition, she also had to attend to the usual household chores like cooking, washing and looking after the children. By 1984, she managed to save some moneys amounting to about $100,000 which she placed on fixed deposits with United Overseas Finance Ltd and DBS Bank.

6. Meanwhile, the respondent continued to carry on the business, which subsequently ran into difficulties. By November 1980, he was unable to pay the rent for the factory and the salaries of his staff. In March 1982, the factory was closed and the business ceased. He sold all the assets of the business but did not pay the appellant any part of the proceeds of sale. He then left for Indonesia, leaving the appellant and the children. There, he worked for a garment factory known as PT Busuana Indah Inter Industri, and was appointed the manager. While he was in Indonesia, he only returned once or twice a month and did not provide any maintenance for the appellant and the children. It was...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2 cases
  • Tan Hwee Lee v Tan Cheng Guan
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 30 August 2012
    ...[2012] 3 SLR 900 (refd) Chan Fook Kee v Chan Siew Fong [2001] 2 SLR (R) 143; [2001] 3 SLR 176 (refd) Chan Siew Fong v Chan Fook Kee [2002] 1 SLR (R) 93; [2002] 1 SLR 169 (refd) Chan Teck Hock David v Leong Mei Chuan [2002] 1 SLR (R) 76; [2002] 1 SLR 177 (folld) Chan Yuen Boey v Sia Hee Soon......
  • Tan Hwee Lee v Tan Cheng Guan and another appeal and another matter
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 30 August 2012
    ...High Court decision of Chan Fook Kee v Chan Siew Fong [2001] 2 SLR(R) 143 (“Chan Fook Kee”) (reversed in Chan Siew Fong v Chan Fook Kee [2002] 1 SLR(R) 93, but not on the particular point to be discussed) to buttress her arguments to adduce the Further Evidence.8 In Chan Fook Kee, the wife ......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT