Kwee Lee Fung Ivon v Lim Gordon

JudgeLai Siu Chiu J
Judgment Date29 October 2013
Neutral Citation[2013] SGHC 228
Citation[2013] SGHC 228
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Published date13 November 2013
Docket NumberDivorce Suit No DT 301 of 2010
Plaintiff CounselChristopher De Souza/Lionel Leo/Joel Chng (Wong Partnership LLP)
Defendant CounselLoh Wai Mooi, Sandy Lim and Joey Quek (Bih Li & Lee)
Subject MatterFamily Law,Matrimonial Assets,Division,Maintenance
Hearing Date13 August 2013,25 July 2013,24 July 2013,26 July 2013,30 July 2013,12 August 2013
Lai Siu Chiu J : Introduction

These proceedings were to decide outstanding ancillary matters between Kwee Lee Fung Ivon (“the Wife”) and Lim Gordon (“the Husband”). This followed the granting of an Interim Judgment on 17 December 2010.


The couple are medical doctors and were married on 3 June 1985. The Wife and Husband are 54 and 61 years old respectively. As at the time of the hearing, the Wife was working as a resident physician at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. The Wife comes from a well-to-do family. She is a daughter of the second wife of the late Henry Kwee, who owned the Pontiac Land Group which has interests in hotels and properties in Singapore and elsewhere. The Husband is currently an obstetrician and gynaecologist in private practice at Gleneagles Medical Centre (“Gleneagles”).

The Wife qualified as a doctor in 1985. Before the marriage, the Wife was an assistant doctor at Richard Choo & Partners (“RCP”) located at Liat Towers, earning a monthly salary of S$3,000. She ceased working soon after marriage but resumed practice some 20 years later in 2006. There are five children from the marriage, three boys born between 1986 and 1990 and a pair of twins (girls) born in 1992. The Wife left the matrimonial home on or about 3 January 2009 to live in a rented flat but returned later of her own accord.

By a consent judgment granted on 22 August 2011, both parties were granted joint custody of the three youngest children of the marriage viz Alexander, Laura and Caroline with the Husband being given care and control with reasonable access to the Wife. The Husband also agreed to solely maintain without any contribution from the Wife: (i) Alexander, Laura and Caroline as well as (ii) their second child Christopher until he obtains his first degree.

The ancillaries that were outstanding and which needed this court’s determination were (i) the division of the matrimonial assets and (ii) the Wife’s maintenance. To support their respective cases, the Wife filed six while the Husband filed nine affidavits. It is fair to say that the relationship between the parties is acrimonious.

Division of Matrimonial Assets The parties assets

It was not disputed that the parties jointly own the following assets:

Asset Date of acquisition/ incorporation Current estimated value
(a) 7 Victoria Park Close, Singapore (“the matrimonial home”) 1987 S$42m (based on CBRE valuation on 13.2.12)
(b) Flat #302, Elkhorn Lodge, Beaver Creek, Colorado, USA (“Elkhorn Lodge”) June 1997 US$1.3m (as at 12.10) (Husband’s estimate)
As stated above, 7 Victoria Park Close was the parties’ matrimonial home.

In addition, the parties have joint accounts with the following banks with the following balances:

Account Balance
(a) RBS Account 152025XXX (“RBS Joint Account 1”) £8,161 (as at 8.1.13)
(b) RBS Account 1006XXX (“RBS Joint Account 2”) £500.14 (as at 6.1.12) company
(c) DBS Autosave Account 064XXX (“DBS Joint Account”) S$185,252.76 (as at 4.09)
(d) Deutsche Bank Portfolio 309XXX (“DB Joint Account 1”) Approximately S$1.948m (as at 3.09)
(e) Deutsche Bank Portfolio 303XXX (“DB Joint Account 2”) S$975,000 (as at 3.09)

The Husband has other assets in his sole name and these are:1

Asset Value
(a) 3 Ash Grove, Raffles Park, Singapore (“the Ash Grove property”) Purchased in November 2010 for $11.5m
(b) Honda motor vehicle SBD3883D S$11,460 (S$40,000 less S$28,540 outstanding on hire purchase agreement)
(c) AIA policy L517XXX S$140,287.55 (surrender value as at 25.2.09)
(d) 33,418 ComfortDelgro shares S$51,797.90 (as at 31.12.10)
(e) 2,730 DBS shares S$39,093.60 (as at 31.12.10)
(f) 1,000 DBS 6% NCPS S$101,180 (as at 31.12.10)
(g) 1,136 OCBC shares S$11,223.68 (as at 31.12.10)
(h) 2,500 SBS Transit shares S$5,150 (as at 31.12.10)
(i) 190 Sing Tel shares S$579.50 (as at 31.12.10)
(j) 23,255.81 Horizon Singapore Fixed Income Enhanced units S$31,162.78 (as at 30.4.12)
(k) 1 out of 2 shares in a company called Gordon Lim Clinic Pte Ltd (“GLC”). S$6,188,286 (Based on wife’s estimate)
(l) Gordon Lim Clinic & Surgery for Women Pte Ltd (“GLCSFW”) S$366,252 (as at 30.9.11)
(m) DBS Account no. 063XXX (“the Husband’s DBS Account”) S$14,886.15 (as at 31.3.13)
(n) Lloyd’s Bank Account no. XXX (“the Husband’s Lloyds Account”) A$997.00 and £259,520
(o) OCBC Account No XXX SS$443,931 (account now closed)
(p) FirstBank (USA) Account No. XXX US$10,702.77 (as at 28.2.12)
(q) Deutsche Bank Grateful Trust Advisory Account (“the Trust Advisory Account”) S$3.35m (as at 19.4.12)
(r) Deutsche Bank Portfolio Account No 609XXX (“the Husband’s DB Account”) S$4,065 (as at 29.2.12)
(s) Membership of the Tanglin Club Non-Transferable
(t) CPF Ordinary account S$4,246.58 Medisave S$36,455.06 Special S$44.98 Retirement S$116,926.06 S$157,672.68 (as at 2.6.11)
(u) Some articles of jewellery and personal adornments (including watches)
One of the key assets of GLC is the premises at Gleneagles #10-07 (“the Gleneagles unit”). The Wife values this at S$4.59m whereas the Husband values it at S$3.4m.

The Husband’s assets also included 13 NTUC Income Foundation and/or Education and/or Incomeshield insurance policies that he had purchased for each of the five children. He also has an NTUC Incomeshield policy no XXX195 in which the Wife is the beneficiary.

The Wife contended, inter alia, that the DBS Joint Account had a balance of S$185,252.76 before the Husband unilaterally withdrew all the monies therefrom in April 2009.

Since the Husband had also admitted that he only needed about S$2.1m for the children’s education, it meant that there was a surplus of at least S$1.2m in the Trust. The Wife herself estimated that the Husband would only need S$1.2m as a Further, as the Husband had admitted that monies from DB Joint Bank Account 1 and DB Joint Bank Account 2 had gone into a trust fund known as The Grateful Trust (“the Trust”), the Trust was a matrimonial asset. The Trust had assets worth around S$3.3m. As will be discussed further below (at [43] ff), the husband claimed that the Trust was set up to finance his children’s overseas education. reasonable sum to educate the children to a first degree level. Consequently, the rest of the funds in Trust should be returned to the matrimonial asset pool for distribution.

The Wife further alleged that the husband had siphoned off monies from their various joint accounts (including the DBS Joint Account mentioned at [10]) to service the mortgage on the Ash Grove property. She therefore alleged that the Ash Grove property was a matrimonial asset subject to division. She denied the Husband’s claim that he had borrowed monies from his mother and sister to part-fund the purchase, arguing that he had produced no evidence to support their loans.

The Wife also accused the Husband of failing to disclose the following: the sale proceeds of the couple’s condominium at Unit 506, Lorong Ampang Dua, (“the KL property”); the sale proceeds of the couple’s flat at Kensington Green, Marloes Road, London W8 (“the London flat”); and his interest in his family company Hui Huat Pte Ltd (“the Lim’s Family Company”). Consequently, counsel for the Wife, Mr Christopher De Souza (“Mr De Souza”), argued that the Husband had not disclosed all his assets and an adverse inference should be drawn against him for such non-disclosure.

On her part, the Wife disclosed the following assets as solely owned by her:

Asset Value
(a) Mercedes Benz vehicle No SBB3838X (“the Mercedes”) S$150,000 (as at 16.2.12)
(b) Lexus motor vehicle No SJJ 4583L (“the Lexus”) S$66,000 (as at 16.2.12)
(c) 35,000 shares in the Raffles Medical Group S$78,400 (as at 30.9.11)
(d) 33,418 Comfort Delgro shares S$46,785.20 (as at 31.10.11)
(e) 1,106 OCBC shares S$9,367.82 (as at 31.10.11)
(f) 2,500 SBS Transit shares S$4,400 (as at 31.10.11)
(g) 177 Sing Tel shares S$564.63 (as at 31.10.11)
(h) 2,520 UOB Ltd shares S$43,218 (as at 31.10.11)
(i) 252 UOL Ltd shares S$1,126.44 (as at 31.10.11)
(j) 23,041.47 Horizon Singapore Fixed Income Enhanced Fund units S$29,976.65 (as at 31.10.11)
(k) 1 out of 2 shares in GLC S$6,188,286 (Based on the Wife’s estimate) The Wife valued the Gleneagles unit at S$4,590,000. She has also not been paid dividends worth S$428,000.
(l) DBS Account No 008-016XXX S$11,374,47 as at 29.12.11
(m) DBS Account No 558XXX S$11,944.29
(n) DBS Savings Plus Account S$602.60 (as at 1.2.11)
(o) DBS Account No 008-5XXX S$545.87
(p) DBS Account No 008-6XXX S$626.45
(q) AIA policy No L517XXX S$219,109 (as at 2012)
(r) CPF S$378,111.36
(s) Jewellery Unknown

The Husband pointed out that the Wife failed to disclose the following assets until he raised the issue:

Asset Value
POSB savings account No 087XXX Unknown
Undisclosed bank accounts held in joint names with each of the five children Unknown
Membership of The American Club Unknown
Membership of Singapore Island Country Club Unknown
Membership of Singapore Swimming Club Unknown

Before I deal with the parties’ respective submissions, I should point out that this court had heard a related application in Originating Summons No 209 of 2013 (“OS 209/2013”) which was taken out by the Wife’s...

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2 cases
  • JBB v JBA
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 29 Julio 2015
    ...matter [2013] 1 SLR 476 at [29]; BCB v BCC [2013] 2 SLR 324 at [41]; BJS v BJT [2013] 4 SLR 41 at [56]; Kwee Lee Fung Ivon v Lim Gordon [2013] SGHC 228 at [89]; ANH v ANI [2014] SGHC 184 at [12]; Guo Ningqun Anthony v Chan Wing Sun [2014] SGHC 56 at [126]; AYM v AYL and another appeal [2014......
  • JBB v JBA
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 29 Julio 2015
    ...matter [2013] 1 SLR 476 at [29]; BCB v BCC [2013] 2 SLR 324 at [41]; BJS v BJT [2013] 4 SLR 41 at [56]; Kwee Lee Fung Ivon v Lim Gordon [2013] SGHC 228 at [89]; ANH v ANI [2014] SGHC 184 at [12]; Guo Ningqun Anthony v Chan Wing Sun [2014] SGHC 56 at [126]; AYM v AYL and another appeal [2014......
1 books & journal articles
  • Equity and Trusts
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2013, December 2013
    • 1 Diciembre 2013
    ...having to rely on any illegal act. Therefore, the alleged illegality did not defeat the trust claim. 15.6 Kwee Lee Fung Ivon v Lim Gordon[2013] SGHC 228 is relevant to this section in discerning the court's attitude towards a trust in the context of division of matrimonial assets. In this c......

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