A High Court's verdict this Wednesday (1 November) finally drew a close to what Justice Tan Lee Meng described as an "ugly family dispute between siblings." Of the five brothers and five sisters who run the Tong Garden snack foods and nuts company, only two were not involved in the ten day trial that sought to prosecute elder brother Ong Leong Chuan for using $100,000 of the business' money to buy out the 10% shares belonging to younger sister Ong Siew Ann.

After the 1984 death of their father, Ong Tong Guan, the siblings disagreed over his final wishes. Leong Chuan remained adamant that his sister was never given shares in the family business, held by Tong Guan Food Products, and that his siblings were attempting to reduce his own share holding with the court case. He believes that he was given 30% of the company's stock, his brothers 20% each, his mother and two sisters 10% each and Siew Ann nothing.

Announcing his judgement, however, Justice Tan Lee Meng said that he believed Leong Chuan had actually held Siew Ann's 10% shares in trust in the holding company before attempting to buy her out. Siew Ann said she agrees to the move "to stop the family quarrel" because her "very greedy" brother would never let her have the 10% shares.

The siblings also fought over how the company was run, and Leong Chaun was forced down from the company's directorship last year.