HONG KONG (AFP) – A former Hong Kong fortune teller has filed an appeal against his 12-year jail term for forging the will of late billionaire Nina Wang in a bid to steal her fortune, reports said.
Bartender-turned-feng shui master Tony Chan had claimed to be the sole beneficiary of Wang's US$13 billion estate, which she inherited after the kidnapping and disappearance of her property mogul husband.
A high court jury last week found Chan guilty of forging Wang's will and he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
"We can confirm that there has been a related appeal for Chan's case," a judiciary spokeswoman told AFP, without giving further details.
Chan, who filed the appeal Wednesday, is now doing time in a cell at the city's Stanley Prison, the South China Morning Post reported.
He will have to convince appeal judges his sentence was excessive in order to argue for a shorter jail term, the Post reported, adding he could also claim the jury's verdict was flawed.
Sentencing the 53-year-old, judge Andrew Macrae on Friday described his conduct as "shameless and wicked as well as borne of unparalleled greed".
Wang, once Asia's richest woman, was known for her thrifty nature and outlandish dress sense, and was nicknamed "Little Sweetie" for her pigtail hairstyle.
She died of cancer in 2007 aged 69, triggering a bitter public feud over her fortune.
Wang's husband Teddy, who started the Chinachem Group property empire, was abducted in 1990 and declared legally dead in 1999. His body has never been found.
The court had ruled in 2010 that the will in Chan's possession was a "highly skilled simulation".
After Chan lost his legal battle to the estate, the court ruled it would be passed onto the billionaire's charity, the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, which is run by her siblings.
Chan had built a career advising clients including Wang on feng shui, an ancient Chinese belief system based on harnessing natural and spiritual energies.
But earlier this year he renounced the practice for Christianity, calling feng shui the work of the devil and changing his name to Peter.