Hong Kong Director Under Million-Dollar Fraud Investigation, Absconds With Investor Money

HONG KONG -  CHINA Night - Getty - H 2018
China Photos/Getty Images

At least 50 investors claim 'Troublesome Night' filmmaker Kenneth Lau defrauded them of up to $1.27 million. The veteran director has been reported missing since December 2017 and is believed to have fled to Taiwan.

Veteran Hong Kong director Kenneth Lau Hau-wai is at the center of a million-dollar fraud investigation involving up to 50 investors, including the backers of the upcoming film Adieu. 

Lau, who emerged in the Hong Kong film industry in the late 1990s as the screenwriter of the Troublesome Night horror series, starring Louis Koo, and who helmed more than 20 low-budget local films in the early 2000s, returned to filmmaking last year with the drama Adieu, set for release in Hong Kong on Sept. 6, 2018.

Apple Daily reports that part of Adieu's $637,000 budget had been funded by investors who claim the director defrauded them. The newspaper reports that Lau has been reported missing since December 2017, with local media claiming he has fled to Taiwan. 

Lau, who has had a checkered past inside and outside Hong Kong's entertainment industry, is also subject to fraud claims from a children’s playgroup, a farm and a restaurant. Local reports put Lau's total fraud schemes at $1.27 million.

According to investors in Adieu, after the production wrapped, Lau began to seek funding for a new film project based on the claim of a close relationship with Emperor Motion Pictures, which the studio has denied. The other producer of Adieu, actor-comedian Wong Cho Lam, told Apple Daily that he has not been in contact with and has not lost any money to Lau. 

Lau achieved notoriety at 19, before his film career, when he fabricated a cover story for Hong Kong tabloid magazine Sudden Weekly about a well-known Hong Kong millionaire suffering from cancer and was subsequently dismissed. After the film industry downturn in the early 2000s, he opened a shop that sold parallel imported Japanese goods and was arrested and detained in Japan for stealing.