Parents Flora Sin, Ho Sai Kwong
Role Business magnate
|Name Stanley Ho|
Net worth $US 2 billion (2011)
Siblings Susie Ho
|Born 25 November 1921 (Age 98) (1921-11-25) British Hong Kong|
Children Pansy Ho, Sabrina Ho Chiu Ying, Josie Ho, Florinda Ho
Spouse Leong On-kei (m. 1988), Lucina Laam King Ying (m. 1962), Clementina Leitao (m. 1942–2004)
Organizations founded HK Express, Shun Tak Holdings
Similar People Leong On‑kei, Pansy Ho, Sabrina Ho Chiu Ying, Josie Ho, Florinda Ho
Died 26 May 2020 (Aged 98), Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, Hong Kong
Stanley Ho Steps Down
Dato' Sri Stanley Ho GBM GLM GBS GML OBE (Chinese: 何鴻燊, 25 November 1921 – 26 May 2020) was the founder and Chairman of SJM Holdings, which owns nineteen casinos in Macau, China including the Grand Lisboa. Ho had been nicknamed "The King of Gambling", reflecting the government-granted monopoly he held on the Macau gambling industry for 40 years. Ho's wealth was divided among his wife Angela Leong($4.1B), daughter Pansy Ho($4.4B) who owns MGM Macau, and son Lawrence Ho($2.2B) who owns City of Dreams.
- Stanley Ho Steps Down
- Godfather of gambling Stanley Ho
- Early life
- Personal life
- Non linear relations
- Qing relics
- Lanceford dispute
Ho was also the founder and Chairman of Shun Tak Holdings, through which he owns many kinds of business including entertainment, tourism, shipping, real estate, banking, and air transport. It is estimated that his enterprises employ almost one fourth of the workforce of Macau.
Apart from Hong Kong and Macau, he also invested in mainland China, Portugal, Pyongyang, North Korea where he operates a casino, Vietnam, the Philippines, Mozambique, Indonesia and East Timor.
Ho was also an industrialist and entrepreneur in Asia and held a number of important positions in many firms in Hong Kong and Macau. His opinions and statements on Hong Kong's real estate and commercial development have considerable sway on the market. In the past few years he had been involved in litigation with his own sister, Winnie Ho, concerning the ownership of the Macau casino. Having suffered a stroke in July 2009, followed by a long period of recovery, Ho began steps in late 2010, subsequently hotly disputed and in confusing circumstances (January 2011), to devolve his grip on his financial empire to his various wives and children.
'Godfather' of gambling: Stanley Ho
Ho Fook (何福), Stanley Ho's grandfather, was the brother of Robert Hotung and the son of a Jewish Dutch man Charles Maurice Bosman. His father was Ho Sai Kwong (何世光). Ho was the ninth of thirteen children.
Ho studied at Queen's College, Hong Kong, at which he attended Class D - the lowest class level in the then Hong Kong Class System - owing to unsatisfactory academic results. After realizing that studying assiduously was the only way to improve his social status, his hard work paid off and earned him a scholarship to the University of Hong Kong. He became the first student from Class D to be granted a university scholarship. His university studies were cut short by the outbreak of World War II. In 1942, he fled from the Japanese and settled in Macau.
Ho began clerical work at a Japanese-owned import-export firm in Macau. He made his first fortune smuggling luxury goods across the Chinese border from Macau during World War II. In 1943 he set up a kerosene company and established a construction company with his money.
Ho, along with partners, including Hong Kong tycoon Henry Fok, Macau gambler Yip Hon and his brother-in-law Teddy Yip, bid for Macau franchises. By bidding high and promising to promote tourism and to develop infrastructure, they won the public tender for Macau's gaming monopoly at a cost of approximately (US?)$410,000, defeating the longtime Macau casino barons, the Fu family. In 1961 the company was renamed Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, S.A.R.L. (STDM). Business at its flagship Lisboa Casino Hotel blossomed, the hotel later to become well-known internationally. In the same year, Ho also set up Shun Tak Holdings Ltd, which was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Through a subsidiary, TurboJET, it owns one of the world's largest fleets of high-speed jetfoils, which ferries passengers between Hong Kong and Macau.
Ho's investments in Macau are diverse. In 1989, after STDM took full control of the Macau Jockey Club, Ho became its chairman and chief executive officer. In 1998 Ho became the first living Macanese resident to have a local street named after him. He also launched Asia's first football and basketball lottery called SLOT.
Ho was also named by the Canadian Government, citing the Manila Standard newspaper, as having a link to the Kung Lok Triad (Chinese mafia) and as being linked to "several illegal activities" during the period 1999–2002. Ho's alleged ties to Chinese organized crime have also been reported by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, citing a U.S. Senate committee and several government agencies, when the state investigated his ties to American casino operator MGM Mirage.
In 1987, Portugal agreed to return Macau to China in 1999. Ho took part in the joint advisory committee. He was a Standing Committee member of the 9th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Ho had 17 children born to four women. He refers to his children's mothers as his wives. Polygamy remained legal in Hong Kong until 1971.
In 1942 Ho married his first wife, Clementina Leitão, a woman from a prestigious Portuguese family – her grandfather was a lawyer and was Macau's only notary public at the time. They had four children. In the late 1950s Ho met Lucina Laam King-ying, whom he legally married in Hong Kong, in 1962. Leitão was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 1973, and suffered partial memory loss as a result. Following her car accident, Leitão needed constant nursing care; Ina Chan, who became Ho's third 'wife' in 1985 and with whom Ho has had three children (an elder daughter and twins), was one of the nurses brought in to look after Leitão. In 1981, Ho's and Leitão's son Robert and daughter-in-law, Melanie Susan Potier ("Suki"), died in a car accident. Leitão died in 2004. Fourth 'wife' Angela Leong On-kei, with whom Ho has had five children, met Ho in 1988 at a private ball.
Ho handed over the reins of STDM to daughter Pansy Ho, who is also a 50 percent partner in MGM Macau; son Lawrence Ho is the CEO of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, another Macau-based casino company. Josie Ho (何超儀) is a rock singer and award-winning actress. His grandchildren are a perennial subject of local social columns and paparazzi.
Over the years, dancing was one of Ho's favourite hobbies, achieving excellence in tango, cha-cha-cha, and waltz. He often danced for televised charity fundraisers and sponsored numerous dance performances in Hong Kong and Macau, including the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Macau Arts Festival, promoting the art of dance. He also invited internationally renowned dancing groups, such as the National Ballet of China, to perform in Hong Kong and Macau. Ho was a patron of the Hong Kong Ballet, the International Dance Teachers Association and was a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Dance. A thoroughbred racehorse owner, one of Ho's runners, Viva Pataca, named after the currency of Macau, won several top Hong Kong races in 2006 and 2007.
Ho suffered a fall late in July 2009 at his home and required brain surgery as a result. For seven months Ho was confined to the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital and, later, the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, making only one public appearance on 20 December 2009, when he travelled to Macau to meet Chinese president Hu Jintao on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Macau's return to Chinese sovereignty. Ho was discharged from the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital on 6 March 2010 and thereafter employed a wheelchair.
In 2003, Ho donated a Qing dynasty bronze boar head to China's Poly Art Museum, a state-run organisation dedicated to develop, display, rescue and protect Chinese cultural relics. The boar head is part of a collection of 12 looted from the imperial Summer Palace in Beijing in 1860 when it was sacked and burnt by French and British armies. On 21 September 2007, Ho donated to the Chinese government a Qing dynasty bronze sculpture of a horse's head originally taken from the Old Summer Palace. Ho had reportedly just purchased it from a Taiwanese businessman for US$8.84 million.
In late January 2011, a dispute erupted among his wives and children involving the transfer of ownership of his private holding company, Lanceford. On 27 December Lanceford allotted 9,998 new shares, representing 99.98 per cent of its enlarged share capital, to two British Virgin Islands companies: Action Winner Holdings Ltd, wholly owned by third wife, Ina, holding 50.55 per cent and Ranillo Investments Ltd, equally held by each of Laam's five children, holding the balance. The allotment document filed with the Registrar of Companies was signed by Laam's daughter Daisy.
Ho, represented by Messrs. Oldham, Li & Nie, issued proceedings in the High Court, naming its directors – 11 defendants, including his second and third wives, and children Pansy and Lawrence Ho, alleging the group "improperly and/or illegally" acted in changing the share structure. The writ sought an injunction restraining the defendants from selling or disposing any of the 9,998 new shares in the company. The two British Virgin Islands companies were also named in the writ. Ho said his intention from the outset was to divide his assets equally among his families and that the actions of the directors of Lanceford effectively eliminated this possibility, according to a statement issued by Gordon Oldham.
Amidst confusion caused by conflicting statements from Ho and his wives and children about the state of the dispute, Ho, through Oldham – who had been allegedly sacked and rehired within the space of a few days – said he had been pressured to make public statements and sign legal documents without him being fully apprised of their contents. What was to become a saga of soap-opera proportions ensued including official video postings of statements on YouTube.
In 1984 Ho was awarded an honorary doctorate of social sciences from the University of Macau in 1984. In the New Year Honours 1990 Ho was appointed as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) For services to the community in Hong Kong In 1995 the Portuguese government appointed Ho to the Grã-Cruz da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique (Great Cross of the Order of Prince Henrique), the highest honor for any civilian, for his contributions to society. In 1998, Dr Stanley Ho Avenue in Macau was named, which made Ho the first Chinese person in Macau history to receive this honor during his lifetime.
In 2003 Ho received the Gold Bauhinia Star from the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Tung Chee Hwa, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the community, in promoting education, sports and other community services for youth. In 2008 Ho received the Medal for Business Entrepreneurialism from the city of Cascais and the street running adjacent to the Estoril Casino was renamed as Avenida Stanley Ho. It was the first road in Portugal to be named after a living Chinese citizen. In June 2009 he received the Visionary award at the G2E Asia conference, organised by the American Gaming Association; the award was delivered by Macau SAR Chief Executive Edmund Ho. In November 2010 Ho was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal the highest under the Hong Kong honors and awards system, reserved for those making a lifelong and highly significant contribution to the well-being of Hong Kong.
Ho was in poor health in his last years, and had stayed in hospital since his health deteriorated following a stroke in 2009. On 25 May 2020, Ho was reported to be in a critical condition, and he died at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital on 26 May 2020, at around 1 pm local time. He was 98.