Macau ” King of gambling” Stanley Ho, who built a business empire from scratch in the former Portuguese colony and became one of Asia’s richest men, died on Tuesday (May 26) at the age of 98, his family has confirmed.
He is survived by 15 of the 17 children he had with four women. Ho referred to the mothers of his children as his wives, three of whom also survive him.
“Although we know the day will come, it does not ease our sorrow,” said Pansy Ho Chiu-king, the eldest child from Ho’s second marriage, adding that the tycoon passed away at 1pm at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital. “Dad will stay in people’s hearts forever and our family will continue to [contribute] to society.”
Ho leaves behind a gambling empire that contributed to as much as half of the tax receipts earned by the Macau government. One of Asia’s richest men for decades, Ho’s personal fortune was estimated at HK$50 billion (RM 28.2 billion)when he retired at 97.
Born to riches in Hong Kong on November 25, 1921, Ho was an heir of one the four families that controlled much of old Hong Kong’s wealth and colonial-era business. Ho was the son of businessman Ho Kwong, chairman of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals. His grandfather Ho Fook was a member of the Legislative Council in 1917, while his grand uncle Sir Robert Ho Tung was the Head Comprador of Hong Kong in the former British colony.
The young Ho, grew up in a two-house residence on MacDonnell Road, with two gardens that ran for half a mile, he said in 1972. After Ho Fook’s death in 1926, Ho Kwong’s business collapsed, and the family fell into poverty.
The young Ho couldn’t even afford to pay a dentist to remove an aching tooth. He would run away when girls, attracted by his Eurasian looks, asked him to buy them coffee, because he was so poor, he said.
Ho’s career and fortunes would forever be tied to Macau, where he fled during the Second World War with only HK$10 in his pocket.
Ho got his start in business at the Macau Cooperative Company, then the largest firm in the territory. The company smuggled luxury goods, machinery, rice and other essential items into wartime Macau. Ho made his first million by the time he was 24.
He then married his first wife, Clementina who came from a wealthy Portuguese business family, a lineage that gave Ho his entry into the upper echelons of Macau’s society.
Those connections Ho built in Macau continued to serve him long after the war ended. In 1961, with the financial backing of Henry Fok, Ho won the sole concession for gambling in Macau – an enormously lucrative financial prize – with his company, Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM). The beginning of his casino empire…
Source : SCMP