A winding-up petition involving celebrities' hangout Yung Kee restaurant in Central, filed by the elder of two sons of its founder, began yesterday.
Kam Kwan-sing, the elder brother, filed the application against younger brother Kam Kwan-lai.
The elder brother has offered to buy out his younger brother's majority share- holding in Yung Kee Holdings, the restaurant's parent company.
The court heard that when their late father, Kam Shui-fai, retired, he passed 35 percent of the shares each to both his sons.
But after the younger brother managed to increase his stake to 55 percent by getting the shares of his sister and the youngest brother, who had died, he started to use different means to take away the elder brother's management authority.
The court was told that the relationship between the two brothers started to deteriorate in 2009.
In April that year, the younger brother's children occupied part of Yung Kee's store house in a factory in Chai Wan for their organic food business.
It was the same year when their mother passed her shares to the elder brother.
When the younger brother discovered this, the court heard that he started to be rude to his mother. He refused to call her his mother or meet her.
The younger brother said his mother "lacked the ability and intelligence to know what is right or wrong," Jat Sew-tong, counsel for the elder brother, told the court.
"Stupid people only use their ears to make judgments. I hope you live long enough to s
ee the consequences," Jat quoted a letter by the younger brother as saying.
The court heard that the younger brother appointed his son, Kam Lin-wang, to Yung Kee's management in July 2009 although his son had no experience in running a restaurant.
When the son became part of management, he started firing staff without giving concrete reasons, leading to a decline in staff morale, the court was told.
In a management meeting in 2010, Lin-wang even shouted at his uncle Kam Kwan-sing.
The elder brother, who holds a 45 percent stake now, offered to sell his stake to the younger brother. The offer takes into consideration that Yung Kee is estimated to be worth HK$1.3 billion.
The elder brother also offered to buy out the 55 percent stake from his younger brother.