Desmond Liaw
I specialise in complex commercial and civil litigation, with emphasis on areas such as corporate-related disputes, contractual disputes, financial services-related disputes, employment, fraud, trust and defamation. My other area of speciality is in insolvency and bankruptcy. With more than two decades of experience, I deliver effective and practical solutions to clients.
  • +852 2841 6819

Originally from Malaysia and having obtained my education in Australia, I am admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong, NSW (Australia) and Malaysia.

With a strong interest in employment law, I co-lead MinterEllison's employment practice group in Hong Kong. Apart from my areas of speciality in complex litigation, employment and insolvency, I have extensive experience in white-collar crime and regulatory investigations such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigations, and have represented clients in investigations and prosecutions by the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Commercial Crimes Bureau (CCB) of the Hong Kong Police. I also have experienced in Securities Futures Commission matters, regularly advising individual clients in investigations by the regulator.

Career highlights

Dispute resolution & regulatory matters

  • Representing members of the family of a shipping magnate in the 20th century in a bitter family dispute involving around USD600-800 million.
  • Representing victims of email frauds and related recoveries, including in a complex but potential landmark claim against a Money Service Operator
  • Representing Asia Television Limited (ATV – oldest TV station in Asia) on a multi-million dollars breach of contract claim
  •  Representing a defendant to an unfair prejudice/winding-up petition instituted by the eldest son of a successful, well-regarded businessman in oil and gas against, among others, his brothers


  • Advising and representing clients, both employers and employees, on contentious and non-contentious employment matters ranging from pre-employment to post-employment issues, including working on a number of employment-related projects (e.g. redundancy of employees worldwide, standardising employment contracts, employee handbooks and policies across offices in multiple jurisdictions, etc.), conducting internal investigations and disciplinary proceedings
  • Representing a listed company on a very substantial misappropriation of funds by a former employee matter, which is also cross-border (Macau, China and Australia)
  • Representing employers on discrimination complaints by employees to the Equal Opportunities Commission, and employment claims brought in the Labour Tribunal and Courts
  • Represented Helm Hong Kong Limited, a subsidiary of a large multi-national chemicals and pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Germany, in multiple litigations against the former managing director and a former employee. The complex litigations involve claims for fraud and breaches of fiduciary duties, in addition to breaches of duties as an employee

Insolvency & Restructuring

  • Representing liquidators of a failed fund including obtaining local order for recognition of and assistance to foreign liquidators
  • Advised the liquidator of one of the Lehman Brothers entities on claims involving complex derivatives products
  • Advised ATV on its scheme of arrangement
  • Advised and represented the Executor of the estate of Lim Por Yen (founder of the Lai Sun Group) and in the liquidation of Highfit Investments Limited
  • Represented the liquidators of the Incorporated Owners of Casio Mansion (in liquidation) throughout the liquidation process, which involved issues connected to the Building Management Ordinance as well