Friday, December 02, 2005

Everybody Wang Chung Tonight
Most Western readers have probably never heard of Nina Wang, reportedly Asia's richest woman (by default after her tyocoon hubs, Teddy Wang was kidnapped in the '90s.) lThe bizarrely coiffed and often equally strangely dressed Nina's had a long, involved and often racy court saga going that ended today. I was assigned to do a timeline on her life and times and decided to try to lighten it up with some amusing side quips involving other events during the years. Those were edited out for space and taste reasons. I'm not bitching. Hell, I've got this forum for that stuff so if anyone's interested here's the original.
1937: The future Asia's richest woman, Nina Wang aka Kung Ru Xin aka ``Little Sweetie'' is born in Shanghai the same year in which the first total solar eclipse to exceed 7 minutes in more than 800 years is visible in East Asia.
1948: Nina, age 11, begins dating Teddy Wang, the 18-year-old son of a hotel developer. Elsewhere, the First Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China
officially convenes in Nanjing and the Hells Angeles are founded in
1955: Teddy moves to Hong Kong to take over his family's pharmaceutical and
vinyl industries business, Chinachem. Nina follows and the two are wed. The
universe responds with another unusually long (7 minutes, 8 seconds) total
solar eclipse visible in East Asia.
1960: Teddy makes his first will bequeathing equal shares of Chinachem to
Nina and his father, Wang Din-shin. In the United States, millionaire
Colorado beer baron Adolph Coors II is killed in a kidnap attempt.
1963: Teddy gives Nina power of attorney to run Chinachem in his absence. In Dallas, Texas the phrases "curtain rods" and "grassy knoll" take on a morbid new significance.
1968: Tipped off by his father, Teddy hires a private detective to snoop
into Nina's alleged affair with a warehouse manager. Enraged at the
photographic evidence, he reportedly changes the will leaving everything to
the elder Wang and locks it in a bank safety deposit box. In Greece,
Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy exchange vows on the isle of
1983: Kidnap No. 1. On April 12 Teddy's Mercedes is hijacked and four men
bundle him into a van, take him to Hung Hom flat and chain him to a bed
frame for eight days. Nina ponies up HK$75 million and Teddy is returned,
gagged and tied in an iron box on a Sha Tin roadside. The gang is finally
tracked down and arrested after Teddy recalls a ``Jesus Loves You'' sticker
on the van. Meanwhile, in another feat of endurance six men walk underwater
across the Sydney Harbor - 82.9 km in 48 hours
1990: Kidnap No. 2. In a bizarre April flashback, Teddy is snatched again on
April 10 in the same Mercedes 200. He has been missing ever since even
though a HK$233 million ransom was paid. Nina gains control of Chinachem
while doggedly insisting that Teddy is still alive. Meanwhile, the United
States Census Bureau reports that ''Elvis Presley'' -- alleged to be dead
since 1977 -- returned a questionaire to the bureau office in Huntsville,
1994: Six people are convicted and jailed for the second kidnapping. In all, 21 people are eventually doing time in Hong Kong and Taiwan over the abduction. In other notable crime news,disgraced American figure skater Tonya Harding pleads guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for trying to cover-up an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
1996: Nina announces plans for the world's tallest skyscraper, Nina Tower, a
108-story, HK$1.3 billion edifice to be built in the New Territories. When
asked how she will pay for it she replies: ``Cash.'' Height restrictions
close to the new airport cancel the original project, but Nina vows a
scaled-down version (80 stories) by 2003. Also in 1996 Nina claims to have
received brief mysterious phone calls from Teddy, including one in which he
said ``Don't pay money, sojoy [foolish piggy]'' before the line went
1997: Wang Din-shin seeks to have his son declared dead so that probate can
begin. In California, 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult commit suicide.
Teddy Wang is not among them.
January 1999: Nina says a sealed envelope held by the court may hold Teddy's
last will. Allegedly written in 1990 just month before Teddy's
disappearance, the four-page document written in Chinese (except for the
four final words, ``One life, one love'') leaves everything to Nina. ``After
the death of me (Wang) Teh Huei, all (my) property shall be left to my wife
(Nina) Kung for her management and no one shall
disagree with that. I love my wife. She is my dearest in the world...
Nothing should be passed to other members of my family because they
disappoint me.''
September 1999: Over Nina's repeated objections, Teddy is declared legally
dead, setting the stage for probate. The cosmos adjusts accordingly when
Pluto, a planet with an irregular orbit, changes from the eighth to ninth
planet furthest from the Sun.
2000: Two lawyers blackmail Nina, claiming they know the 1990 will is false.
Nina reports them to anti-graft officials and they are jailed. World-wide,
fears of a Y2K collapse are similarly put to rest.
June 2001: Just prior to a grueling, record-breaking trial, Nina reveals her
creative side by announcing a vanity comic book, Nina Nina, based on
her childhood and romance with Teddy. Like her, the character sports
antenna-like pig tails, an outlandish wardrobe and cavorts with a pet monkey
and German shepherd. Despite Nina Nina's prestigious debut at the
third annual Hong Kong Comics Festival, the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature
goes to VS Naipaul.
August 6, 2001: Hong Kong's longest civil trial over the will's authenticity
begins. The 172-day battle features high profile lawyers and accusations of
adultry on the part of Nina by Wang Din-shin. She responded with charges
that her former father-in-law smokes opium and keeps a concubine.
Justice Wally Yeung later calls it, ``Unparalleled in the legal history of
Hong Kong, the trial was a chimera, with a fire-breathing mouth that had
devoured a significant part of our judicial capacity and a serpent's tail in
the form of a 600-page judgment.''
November 21, 2002: The trial saga ends with High Court Justice David Yam
declaring the 1990 will a forgery and awarding all of Teddy's estate to Wang
Din-shin. US President George W Bush faints in the White House after choking
on a pretzel. The two incidents are not believed to be connected.
June 28, 2004: Nina loses an appeal of Yam's decision. In Taiwan, Taipei
101, currently the world's tallest skyscrape at 508 meters is opened while
plans for Nina Tower have painfully morphed through the years into an as-yet
unoccupied 40-story hotel block, L'Hotel Nina Tower Oneship hotel and an
80-story hotel-office block in Tsuen Wan.
January 28, 2005: Nina is formally charged with the forgery and freed on
September 16, 2005: The Court of Final Appeal overturns the previous High
Court ruling, giving control of the multi-billion dollar Chinachem firm back
to Nina.
December 2, 2005: Criminal charges against Nina are withdrawn. Teddy is still missing, though Nina insists he stills calls occasionally.
There are few things that scare me more than a rich, crazy, Asian woman with power.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
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