Under s.740 of the Companies Ordinance of Hong Kong, a court has the power to order production of company documents on an application by a shareholder in a company, provided that the requirements of “good faith” and “proper purpose” are satisfied.

In the two recent cases of Wong Sau Man, Samuel v Wong Kan Po, Wilson and Others [2017] HKCU 2052 and Fung Chuen v Sandmartin International Holdings Ltd [2017] HKCU 2618, the court held differently in the two s.740 application cases. In the Wong case, the applicant requested to inspect a very wide scope of documents, encompassing almost all the company documents since 1992 and also failed to relate the purpose to the requested documents. In the Fung case, the court found that the applicant had "acted out of a genuine and legitimate concern to protect his interests as a shareholder of the company".

In conclusion, the court does not welcome “fishing” practice when it comes to s.740 application. It is important to limit the scope of documents requested and link the request to a proper purpose as well.