G v G

Judgment Date28 August 1996
Judgement NumberFCMC8726/1995
Subject MatterMatrimonial Causes
CourtFamily Court (Hong Kong)
FCMC008726/1995 G v. G




SUIT NO. 8726 OF 1995


G Petitioner
G Respondent


Coram: His Honour Judge Bruno Chan in Court

Date of Hearing: 28th March 1996 and 1st August 1996

Date of Handing Down Judgment : 28th August 1996




1. This is the Respondent (Husband)'s application, by way of a summons issued on 15th November 1995, to dismiss the petition for divorce issued by the Petitioner (Wife) on the ground that Hong Kong does not have jurisdiction to entertain the divorce proceedings of the parties.

2. The petition was issued by the Wife on 6th November 1995 based on the Husband's behaviour and states that both the Petitioner and the Respondent have a substantial connection with Hong Kong at the date of the Petition.

3. At the hearing of the Husband's summons, Counsel for the Wife confirms that he only relies on the Husband's substantial connection with Hong Kong for jurisdiction as it is not necessary for him to prove substantial connection by both parties under Section 3(c) of the Matrimonial Causes Ordinance which reads as follows: -

"The Court shall have jurisdiction in proceedings for divorce under this Ordinance if either of the parties to the marriage had a substantial connection with Hong Kong at the date of the petition."

4. Where a petition is brought under Section 3(c) of the Ordinance, as in this case, it is normal to state in the petition the reasons for which it is alleged that the parties, or either of them had a substantial connection with Hong Kong. The Wife gives her reasons in Paragraph 3 and 4 as follows: -

"3. Both the Petitioner and the Respondent have a substantial connection with Hong Kong at the date of Petition in that they have lived here regularly for six years since 1989 and both of them hold Hong Kong Identity Cards. The Petitioner is a housewife and resides at Magmannstrasse 2, 82166 Grafelfing, Germany.
4. The Respondent is a businessman carrying on a trading business in Hong Kong and Macau since 1989. The Petitioner worked with the Respondent in the family trading business between 1989 to 1995. The Respondent owns trading companies in Hong Kong and Macau."

5. As the Husband by his said summons disputes the question of jurisdiction, I directed that the matter be tried as a separate issue in open court and that the parties shall first file their evidence by way of Affidavit. The Wife's sister has also filed an Affidavit in support of the Wife's case but has not been relied on. At the trial, both parties also gave oral evidence and were cross-examined.

6. The Wife is a German national while the Husband is an Italian. They were married on 31st October 1985 at the Italian Embassy in Beijing, People's Republic of China, according to Italian Law. In or about 1989 the parties moved to Hong Kong where the Husband established his own trading company. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, the parties were each given a Hong Kong Identity Card which they have held up to today. The Wife was also given an employment visa upon which the Husband held a dependent visa as her spouse. Later the Husband obtained his own employment visa through his company. The Wife then took up a position with BfG Finance Asia Ltd. as an Assistant Manager. The parties settled in an apartment in Shouson Hill Road, Hong Kong which was provided by the Wife's employer as part of her employment terms. In June/July 1989 the Husband formed a trading company known as "I" Hong Kong (the Hong Kong Company) with which he would purchase goods in China and ship them directly to Europe without passing through Hong Kong. The Husband converted one of the bedrooms of the Shouson Hill apartment into an office for his business.

7. In March 1992 the Wife's employment was terminated and with the lease of their Shouson Hill apartment expiring and the expected substantial rental increase, the parties decided to move to Macau to save costs but where the Husband's business could be continued. They however continued to hold their Hong Kong Identity Cards.

8. Upon arrival in Macau the parties applied for work/residency visas but when they found out that they would have to pay fees of HK$38,000 per year each to maintain such visas, they withdrew their application and decided to live in Macau throughout on tourist visas. They also retained and continued with their Hong Kong employment visas with which they were entitled to reside in Hong Kong.

9. In or about March 1992 the parties purchased an apartment at Est Sete Tangues Ocean Gardens Edelweiss Court 5B Taipa in Macau in joint names as their matrimonial home (The Macau flat) for about $3.6 million. The Husband then set up a company in Macau known as "I" Trading Company Ltd. (the Macau Company) to continue with the business which he established in Hong Kong and again used part of the Macau flat for the office. The Hong Kong Company has continued in existence which the Husband claims for the purpose of a tax dispute with the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department. The Wife however alleges that the Husband has used the Hong Kong Company as a sponsor to obtain the relevant employment/residence visa for the parties and later for their son.

10. Whilst they were living in Hong Kong, the parties had opened and operated several savings and current accounts in Hong Kong either in their sole name or joint names, as well as company accounts for the Hong Kong Company, and later, the Macau Company as well. The parties also had Visa and American Express Credit Cards issued in Hong Kong and a safe deposit box with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in Central. Upon moving to Macau, they continued to use their accounts in Hong Kong. They have not opened any bank account in Macau either in personal name or in the name of the Macau Company, apart from an auto-pay utility account by the Wife to meet the household utilities charges. Instead they would travel to Hong Kong from time to time to do their banking.

11. In late 1993 the parties decided to purchase a property in Hong Kong and made frequent trips to Hong Kong looking for it. In December 1993 they purchased the property at Flat 4B, 27 Tai Tam Road, Hong Kong (The Hong Kong flat) for about $14.9 millions in cash. The property is registered in the Husband's sole name. At this time the Wife was already pregnant and the parties decided that she should give birth in Hong Kong. Therefore in March 1994 the Wife moved into the Hong Kong flat and stayed there for more than a month until the birth of their son. The child was born on 6th April 1994. After giving birth the Wife suffered post-natal depression and went to Germany with the son in July 1994 to be with her family for recuperation. The Husband remained in Macau.

12. In November 1994 the Wife and son returned to Hong Kong and then returned to live with the Husband in Macau, although they would continue to...

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