04/18/2007, 00.00
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Farewell to Nina Wang, speculation over heir

Asia's richest woman Nina Wang was laid to rest with many of Hong Kong's rich and powerful in attendance. Her estate is estimated to be US$ 4.2 billion, but her heir’s name is still unknown. Some newspapers suggest she may have left her fortune to her personal magus, fung shui trainer or barristers.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, Asia's richest woman was given an extravagant funeral send-off on Wednesday attended by many of Hong Kong's rich and powerful.

She left an estate estimated to be at least US$ 4.2 billion, this according to Forbes magazine, which ranked her 154th among the world’s richest people, 35th in Asia. The local press however has been speculating that she was probably worth much more.

Nicknamed ‘Little Sweetie’ because of her trademark pigtails and famous for her frugal lifestyle, the Shanghai native died of cancer aged 69 on April 3.

She took over Chinachem, her husband’s company in 1990 when Teddy Wang disappeared. He is thought to have been kidnapped and was officially declared dead nine years later even though his body was never been found.

Under Nina’s control Chinachem was transformed into a multi-billion dollar empire with more than 200 office towers and 400 companies around the world.

The press is guessing that Nina Wang, who had no known heir and had not named any beneficiary, might have left her wealth to her personal magus, her fung shui master or one of her barristers.

Her lawyer, Jonathan Midgely said she had left her fortune to just one person, but that he would not reveal that person’s identity until after the funeral.

Wang's funeral, organised by a committee of 45 businessmen and politicians including Asia's richest man, Li Ka-Shing, was shrouded in secrecy.

Reporters were barred from the event venue in central Hong Kong before the ceremony.

The hearse carrying her body left for the crematorium, festooned with white orchids and red roses. White and red were her favourite colours, even though red is traditionally associated in China with celebrations like weddings.

White orchids, white lilies, peonies and white chrysanthemums adorned the parlour, along with more than 1,000 red roses in the shape of a heart and more roses covered her coffin.

A sea of floral wreaths piled up outside the funeral home.

Newspapers said her family spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in flowers.

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