Same name, different person?

In Cho Tak Po v Chan Kwok Wai ([2012] HKEC 1516, CFI) a husband and wife bought property as joint tenants. They subsequently broke up. As part of the arrangements following the divorce, the wife assigned the property to the husband. The couple had moved to the US and the wife remained there. Perhaps under this western influence the elements of her name were transposed when she signed the assignment (her family name appearing last). The title deeds included a notarial document declaring that the wife (with her name given in western style) was the person who had executed the assignment (annexed to the declaration). Next to the wife’s signature on the assignment was her Hong Kong ID number and this was the same number as that shown in the assignment of the property to her and her husband. Title to the property subsequently changed hands and there was now a contract for the further sale of the property. The buyers raised, and persisted in, a requisition concerning an alleged doubt as to whether the person who assigned the property to the ex-husband was the same person who had bought the property as joint tenant with the ex-husband (the doubt said to arise from the transposition of the names). Ultimately this led the purchasers to allege that the seller had repudiated by failing to show good title and to seek the return of the deposits paid. This claim got short shrift from the court. There was no substance in the alleged doubt.

2 Responses to “Same name, different person?”

  1. redshylock Says:

    Usually a foreign notary would be reluctant to verify the identity of the signatory with a foreign identity document. Unless it is stated in the notarial document I don’t think the HKID No. was inserted by the notary as part of verification of the signatory’s identity.

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