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Stanley Ho

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Stanley Ho
Ho in 2006
Member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC
(9th, 10th, 11th)
In office
March 1998 – March 2013
Personal details
Ho Hung-sun

(1921-11-25)25 November 1921
British Hong Kong
Died26 May 2020(2020-05-26) (aged 98)
Happy Valley, Hong Kong
Clementina Leitão Ho
(m. 1942; died 2004)
Lucina Laam King-ying
(m. 1957)
(m. 1977)
(m. 1988)
Alma mater

Stanley Ho Hung-sun[a] GBM GLM GBS GML OBE CStJ SPMP SPMT (Chinese: 何鴻燊; 25 November 1921 – 26 May 2020) was a Hong Kong and Macau billionaire businessman. He was the founder and chairman of SJM Holdings, which owns nineteen casinos in Macau including the Grand Lisboa.

Ho was nicknamed variously Godfather and King of Gambling, reflecting the government-granted monopoly he held on the Macau gambling industry for 40 years. His wealth was divided among his daughter, Pansy Ho ($5.3 billion)[2] who owns MGM Macau, fourth wife Angela Leong ($4.1 billion)[3] who is managing director of SJM Holdings, and son Lawrence Ho ($2.6 billion)[4] who owns City of Dreams.

Ho was the founder and chairman of Shun Tak Holdings, through which he owned many businesses including entertainment, tourism, shipping, real estate, banking, and air transport. It is estimated that his businesses employ almost one-fourth of the workforce of Macau.[5] Apart from Hong Kong and Macau, he also invested in mainland China, Portugal, North Korea where he operated a casino, Vietnam, the Philippines, Mozambique, Indonesia and East Timor.

His opinions and statements on Hong Kong's real estate and commercial development had considerable sway on the market. In his later years, he had been involved in litigation with his 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 to devolve his grip on his financial empire to his various wives and children. Ho died on 26 May 2020 at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital.[6][7]

Early life


Born in Hong Kong during British colonial rule, he was of Chinese, Dutch-Jewish and English ancestry. Ho was descended from his great-grandfather, Charles Henry Maurice Bosman (1839–1892), who was of Dutch Jewish ancestry,[8] and his Chinese mistress Sze Tai (施娣), a local Bao'an (present-day Shenzhen and Hong Kong) woman. His grandfather was Ho Fook (何福), brother of the merchant Sir Robert Ho Tung.[9]: 187, 195  Ho was the ninth of thirteen children of Ho Sai-kwong (何世光).[10]



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.[11] However, he later received a scholarship to the University of Hong Kong.[12] 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.[13] Following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, Ho moved to Macau.[14]: 9 


Macau Tower, owned by STDM

Ho began clerical work at a Japanese-owned import-export firm in Macau. He made his first fortune smuggling luxury goods and food[14]: 9  across the Chinese border from Macau during World War II.[15] 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 license in 1961, for US$410,000, of which US$51,000 was provided by Henry Fok. [16] defeating the long-time Macau casino barons, the Fu family, by MOP 17,000.[17] In 1961 the company was renamed Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, S.A.R.L. (STDM).

In late 1962, Ho opened the Estoril Hotel, Macau's first luxury casino resort.[14]: 9 

In 1970, Ho opened the flagship Lisboa Casino Hotel.[14]: 9  In the same year, Ho also set up Shun Tak Holdings Ltd, which was listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.[18] Through a subsidiary, TurboJET, it owns one of the world's largest fleets of high-speed jetfoils, which ferry passengers between Hong Kong and Macau.[19]

In the 1980s, Ho pioneered the practice of subcontracting private gambling rooms in his casinos to independent agents.[14]: 9  The practice developed in response to Triads' practice of buying hydrofoil tickets to scalp to tourists.[14]: 9  Ho's practice developed as an alternative, which would allow Triad agents direct access to his casinos instead via commissions on sales of casino chips to gamblers.[14]: 9  This practice evolved into the VIP contractual system known as the junket trade.[14]: 9 

Ho's investments in Macau were diverse. In 1989, after STDM took full control of the Macau Jockey Club, Ho became its chairman and chief executive officer.

Ho opened a casino in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 1995.[14]: 83 

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.[20]

Ho was 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.[21] 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.[22]

Positions held



Bust of Stanley Ho at the Fundação Oriente, Lisbon.
  • Chairman Emeritus without directorship, Shun Tak Holdings Limited (信德集團)[23]
  • Chairman, Seng Heng Bank Limited[24]
  • Director, Shun Tak Shipping Company, Limited[25]
  • Chairman, iAsia Technology Limited (亞洲網上交易科技有限公司)[26]
  • Chairman, the Chinese Recreation Club in Hong Kong (CRC)[27]
  • Founder of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau, SARL (STDM)[7]
  • Chairman, SJM Holdings Limited (澳門博彩控股有限公司) (retirement announced in April 2018[28])
  • Ho also made many other investments, including in venture capital and foreign real estate (such as in Singapore[29] and London[30]).


Stanley Ho Building, Hong Kong Polytechnic University



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.[34]




Ho had 17 children born to four women. Ho referred to his children's mothers as his wives.[37] Polygamy remained legal in Hong Kong until it was outlawed in 1971.[38]

In 1942, Ho married Clementina Ângela Leitão, from the prestigious Portuguese Leitão family[14]: 9  (Chinese:黎登)– her grandfather was a lawyer and Macau's only notary public at the time. They had four children. Leitão was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 1973, and suffered partial memory loss as a result. In 1981, Ho's and Leitão's son Robert and daughter-in-law Suki Potier died in a car accident. Clementina Leitão Ho died in 2004 and was buried in the St. Michael the Archangel Cemetery (Portuguese: Cemitério São Miguel Arcanjo).

In the late 1950s, Ho met Lucina Azul Jean Ying née Laam King-ying (藍瓊纓) and began a relationship. This union was recognized in Macau and Hong Kong at that time due to legacy rulings from the Great Qing Legal Code of the Chinese Qing Dynasty. The relationship resulted in five children including daughters Daisy Ho, to whom Ho ceded the chairmanship of SJM,[28] and Pansy Ho, a 50 percent partner in MGM Macau; son Lawrence Ho, CEO of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, another Macau-based casino company; and Josie Ho (何超儀), a rock singer and award-winning actress. Lucina's family now resides in Canada.

Ho began a relationship with Ina Chan in 1985. This union is not legitimate by laws in either Hong Kong or Macau. Ho's wife Clementina Leitão needed constant nursing care following her car accident, and Ina Chan was one of the nurses brought in to look after Leitão. Ho and Chan have three children together; Laurinda Ho, Florinda Ho, and Orlando Ho.

In 1988, Ho met Angela Leong On-kei when she was his dance instructor. The couple had four children together:[38] Sabrina Ho, Arnaldo Ho, Mario Ho and Alice Ho.[39] Leong is now an incumbent member of the Legislative Assembly in Macau.

Personal life


Over the years, dancing was one of Ho's favourite hobbies and he achieved excellence in the 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. One of a number of thoroughbred racehorses owned by Ho, Viva Pataca, named after the currency of Macau, won several top Hong Kong races in 2006 and 2007.

In late July 2009, Ho suffered a fall at his home that required brain surgery. For seven months Ho was confined to the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital and, later, the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, during which period he made 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.[40] Ho was discharged from the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital on 6 March 2010 and thereafter employed a wheelchair.[41]



Qing relics


In 2003, Ho donated a Qing dynasty bronze boar's head to China's Poly Art Museum, a state-run organisation that aims to develop, display, rescue and protect Chinese cultural relics. The boar's head is part of a collection of twelve looted from the imperial Summer Palace in Beijing in 1860 when it was sacked and burnt by the French and British armies.[42] 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.[43]

Lanceford dispute


In late January 2011, a dispute erupted among his wives and children involving the transfer of ownership of his private holding company, Lanceford.[44] 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.[45]

Ho 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 his lawyer Gordon Oldham.[46]

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.[46]



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 Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) "for services to the community in Hong Kong"[47] In 1995, The Government of Portugal appointed Ho to the Grã-Cruz da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique (Great Cross of the Order of Prince Henrique), the highest honour for any civilian, for his contributions to society.[48] In 1998, Dr. Stanley Ho Avenue in Macau was named, the first Chinese person to be so honoured in Macau during their lifetime.[17] In 2001, he was among the first recipients to receive the Golden Lotus Medal of Honour from Macau.[49]

In 2003 Ho received the Gold Bauhinia Star from the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Tung Chee Hwa.[48] In 2007, he received the Grand Lotus Medal of Honour from Macau.[50] 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.[51] 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.[52]



Ho was in poor health in his last years, and stayed in hospital after his health deteriorated following a stroke in 2009.[53] On 25 May 2020, Ho was reported to be in a critical condition,[54] and he died at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital on 26 May 2020, at around 1 pm local time.[6][55] He was 98.[56]


See also



  1. ^ "中國評論月刊網絡版". Archived from the original on 13 June 2020.
  2. ^ "Pansy Catilina Ho". Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
  3. ^ "Angela Leong". The World's Billionaires 2017.
  4. ^ "Lawrence Ho". The World's Billionaires 2017.
  5. ^ Kandell, Jonathan (26 May 2020). "Stanley Ho, Who Turned Macau Into a Global Gambling Hub, Dies at 98". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b Sito, Peggy; Li, Sandy; Liu, Yujing (26 May 2020). "Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho dies aged 98". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  7. ^ a b "BREAKING: Hong Kong casino tycoon Stanley Ho dies aged 98". Hong Kong Free Press. Agence France-Presse. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Stanley Ho Divests from Portuguese Shipping Business". Jewish Business News. 9 June 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  9. ^ Ho, Eric P (2012). Elizabeth Sinn (ed.). Dictionary of Hong Kong Biography. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 9789888083664.
  10. ^ "HO Sai Kwong 何世光". Geni. 4 November 1887. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  11. ^ Baldacchino, Godfrey (2015). Entrepreneurship in Small Island States and Territories. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-65454-4. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Asia's Wealth Club: Who's Really Who in Business – The Top 100 Billionaires in Asia" ISBN 1-85788-162-1 – Geoff Hiscock.
  13. ^ Zheng, Victor (2009). Chinese family business and the equal inheritance system : unravelling the myth. Routledge. p. 79. ISBN 9781135172152.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Simpson, Tim (2023). Betting on Macau: Casino Capitalism and China's Consumer Revolution. Globalization and community. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-1-5179-0031-1.
  15. ^ "Billionaire Stanley Ho's struggles to adapt to new Macau" Archived 1 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Channel NewsAsia, 14 July 2008
  16. ^ Chan, Vinicy; Wei, Daniela. "Stanley Ho, 'King of Gambling' Who Built Macau, Dies at 98". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  17. ^ a b Butler, Richard W.; Russell, Roslyn (2010). Giants of Tourism. CABI. p. 174. ISBN 9781845936532. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Dr Stanley Ho retires as Shun Tak Executive Chairman, replaced by Pansy Ho". Inside Asian Gaming. 25 June 2017. Archived from the original on 14 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  19. ^ Bharne, Vinayak (2013). The Emerging Asian City : Concomitant Urbanities & Urbanisms. Taylor and Francis. p. 114. ISBN 9780415525985. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  20. ^ Chon, Kaye Sung; Hsu, Cathy Hc (2012). Casino industry in Asia Pacific : Development, Operation, and Impact. Routledge. p. 42. ISBN 9781136420511.
  21. ^ "Asian Organized Crime and Terrorist Activity In Canada, 1999-2002" (PDF). Library of Congress.
  22. ^ Beasley, Deena (17 March 2010). "NJ says MGM has ties to Chinese criminals". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Hong Kong tycoon Stanley Ho steps down as Shun Tak Holdings' chairman". The Business Times. The Business Times Singapore. Reuters. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  24. ^ "Ho, Stanley Hung Sun 何鴻燊". Webb-site Who's Who. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Management Profile - Shun Tak Shipping Company Limited" (PDF). ewf106.pdf. Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  26. ^ "iAsia Technology Limited - Prospectus" (PDF). gln20030109018.pdf. Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  27. ^ Rui, Zhang (26 May 2020). "HK-Macao entrepreneur Stanley Ho dies at 98 - China.org.cn". www.china.org.cn. China.org.cn. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  28. ^ a b "BRIEF-SJM Holdings Says Ho Hung Sun, Stanley Will Retire As Chairman". Reuters. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Stanley Ho's Shun Tak Pays $216M for 61% Stake in Orchard Road Commercial Complex". Mingtiandi. 2 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  30. ^ "Irish property firm sells London mansion and offices for over £246million – Irish Post". Irish Post. 31 January 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  31. ^ Lui, Tai-lok; Chiu, Stephen W.K.; Yep, Ray (2018). Routledge handbook of contemporary Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Routledge. ISBN 9781317337362. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  32. ^ "Stanley Ho & family". Forbes. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  33. ^ a b "Management Profile - Melco" (PDF). f105.pdf. Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  34. ^ a b "Management Profile" (PDF). ewf106.pdf. Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  35. ^ a b "HKAPA". www.hkapa.edu. Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  36. ^ a b "China Vitae : Biography of Ho Stanley". www.chinavitae.com. China Vitae. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  37. ^ Oster, Shai; O'Keeffe, Kate (27 January 2011). "Stanley Ho confirms share transfer to wives, daughter Angela shocked". The Australian.
  38. ^ a b Ng Yuk-hang & Wong, Martin (27 January 2011). "Ho the daddy of them all when it comes to his hectic love life", South China Morning Post
  39. ^ "8 Young Ladies You Should Know From 2017's Le Bal Des Debutantes". Tatler Hong Kong.
  40. ^ "Patriarch Stanley Ho dies at 98 in Hong Kong hospital". Macau News. Macau News. 27 May 2020. Archived from the original on 24 July 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  41. ^ "七點半新聞報道 - myTV - tvb.com". 15 June 2011. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  42. ^ "Chinese zodiac statues' origins". BBC News. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  43. ^ Geoffrey A. Fowler (21 September 2007). "In Macau, Moguls Bet Big on Donated Art". The Wall Street Journal.
  44. ^ "Family Feud Grips Stanley Ho Casino Empire". The Wall Street Journal. New York City. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  45. ^ Gough, Neil (27 January 2011). "What Ho did when he found out he was poor", South China Morning Post
  46. ^ a b Wong, Natalie (28 January 2011). "See you in court" Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ "No. 51981". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1989. p. 16.
  48. ^ a b "Editorial Local Business China World Sports Central Station Casino empire builder Stanley Ho dies at 98". The Standard. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  49. ^ Ho, Edmund (21 December 2001). "Boletim Oficial da Região Administrativa Especial de Macau 澳門特別行政區公報" [Official Bulletin of the Special Administrative Region of Macau] (PDF). Government of Macau (in Portuguese and Chinese). Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  50. ^ Ho, Edmund (2 February 2007). "Cerimónia de Imposição de Medalhas e Títulos Honoríficos do Ano 2006" [Award Ceremony of Medals and Honorific Titles of the Year 2006]. Government of Macau (in Portuguese). Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  51. ^ "Cascais honours Stanley Ho", Algarve Resident, 9 October 2008
  52. ^ "CE mourns Stanley Ho". Hong Kong's Information Services Department (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). News.gov.hk. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  53. ^ "Gambling king Stanley Ho dies aged 98 – RTHK". news.rthk.hk. Radio Television Hong Kong. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  54. ^ "98歲賭王何鴻燊傳病重 家人昨午否認 晚上相繼現身醫院". news.mingpao.com (in Chinese). Ming Pao News. 25 May 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  55. ^ "'King of gambling' dies in Hong Kong aged 98". BBC News. 26 May 2020.
  56. ^ Olsen, Robert. "Legendary Casino Kingpin Stanley Ho Dies At Age 98". Forbes. Retrieved 23 December 2020.


  1. ^ His original patrilineal surname was Bosman, which was later sinicized to 何 (Ho).
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Edward Leong
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Hong Kong order of precedence
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Succeeded by
Victor Fung
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal