When it comes to gambling in Asia, few figures can rival Stanley Ho, the
billionaire entrepreneur who’s almost single-handedly responsible for the rise
of Macau as a global gaming mecca. Among his rather impressive list of nicknames
are “The King of Macau,” “The King of Gambling,” and “The Underground Governor.”
This biography is meant to provide an overview of Stanley Ho, from his early
life to the various awards and accolades he’s accumulated. I’ll also provide a
detailed list of his 17 children and their various accomplishments, as well as a
discussion of their inevitable battle over his estate.
Stanley Ho, born Ho Hung Sun, came into the world on November 25th, 1921 in
British-controlled Hong Kong. The ninth child to be born to Ho Sai Kwong and
Flora Sin, he was part of an influential family that boasted ties to Sir Robert
Hotung, a successful businessman often referred to as “The Grand Old Man of Hong
While Ho was still a child, his father went bankrupt. This placed the family
in an awkward financial situation, and it was only compounded when two of his
brothers committed suicide.
Ho was an academic underachiever early on, attending Queen’s College and
taking the lowest level classes available to a Hong Kong student. However, he
eventually realized that an education was his best chance of regaining the
fortune that his family had once been accustomed to, so he renewed his efforts
and received a scholarship to the University of Hong Kong (the first-ever
student from his class level to do so).
Moving to Macau
While Stanley Ho had intended to study at the University of Hong Kong, fate
had other plans. The beginning of World War II led to an invasion by the
Japanese, and he was forced to flee to Macau.
This provided the necessary spark to ignite his entrepreneurial spirit, and
it started with a job at a Japanese-owned import-export firm. Ho smuggled luxury
items into China, and doing so enabled him to amass a small fortune. With this
money, he launched both a construction and kerosene company and slowly built his
The Gambling Business
Along with partners Yip Hon, Teddy Yip, and Hong Kong tycoon Henry Fok,
Stanley Ho decided to pursue the lucrative gambling monopoly in Macau. In order
to wrest control away from the entrenched Fu family, they promised to build up
the city’s infrastructure and heavily promote tourism. The pitch worked, and in
1962 they were awarded the gambling monopoly from the controlling Portuguese
This led to the creation of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau,
S.A.R.L. (STDM), as well as Ho’s Shun Tak Holdings, Ltd. The entrepreneur
quickly branched out into a number of business ventures, including hotels,
banking, air transport, and entertainment. At the height of his power, it’s
estimated that Ho controlled over half of the economy of Macau.
While some of his partners were content to be players in Macau, Ho worked
hard to spread his influence to other parts of the world. Over the course of
several decades, he invested significant amounts of money in Canada, East Timor,
Mozambique, Vietnam, Portugal, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
At one point, he even managed to get a casino opened in the basement of a North
Stanley Ho’s Family and Their Inevitable Feud
The phrase “be fruitful and multiply” certainly applies to Stanley Ho, as
he’s produced a total of 17 children with four different women. While polygamy
was outlawed in China in 1950 thanks to Chairman Mao, it was quite common in
traditional Chinese culture as a way to produce male offspring. Stanley Ho has
carried the ancient way of thinking into modern times, although it’s unclear how
many of his brides have actually married him in lawful ceremonies.
Ho’s children range from senior citizens to the relatively young. Some stay
out of the public eye, while others are frequent users of social media. The
Asian tabloids love the Ho family, as the sheer number of children and
grandchildren guarantees a wealth of personalities and news items.
During his life, Ho has referred to the following women as his “wives”:
Ho’s first wife came from a
prominent Portuguese family, and the couple had four children together after
marrying in 1942. In 1973, she was in a car crash that resulted in partial
memory loss, and afterwards she required constant care from a team of
nurses. She passed away in 2004.
Lucina Laam King Ying
Ho met this wife in the late
1950s, and the two bonded over a mutual love of ballroom dancing. He legally
married her in Hong Kong in 1962. After Ho invested heavily in Canada during
the 1980s, she immigrated there and has been living quietly ever since. The
couple had five children together
Ina Chan Un Chan
After Clementina Leitao’s automobile
accident, she required around-the-clock attention by a staff of nurses. Ho’s
third wife was one of the women brought in to look after her in 1977, and
the couple would later marry in 1985 and have three children together. Often
regarded as the most low-key of Ho’s wives.
Angela Leong On Kei
Ho and Mrs. Leong have been
together since 1988, when the pair met at a private ball (she’s a former
dance instructor). The couple had five children together, with Leong
eventually taking on a large role within Ho’s business empire. She’s also
entered the political arena in recent years, becoming a member of the
legislature of Macau.
Now let’s take a look at the many children sired by Stanley Ho over the
decades. Since there are so many, I’ve broken them down according to their
mothers. When possible, I’ve also included a small amount of biographical
information for your reading pleasure.
Children by Clementina Leitao
Jane Ho Chiu Ying
Born in 1947, Ho’s eldest daughter
studied law in the UK and was once considered among the most successful
businesswomen in Asia. She passed away in 2014 after struggling with the
effects of Churg-Strauss Syndrome for seven years (which causes inflammation
of the blood vessels).
Robert Ho Yau Kwong
Ho’s eldest son was born in 1948.
In 1981, he and wife Melanie Susan Potier were killed in a car crash in
Angela Ho Chiu Yin
Deborah Ho Chiu Hung
Children by Lucina Laam King Ying
Pansy Ho Chiu King
Born in 1962, this daughter has
served as the managing director of both Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de
Macau and Shun Tak Holdings, as well as the co-chair of MGM China. A
billionaire with an estimated fortune of $3.8 billion, she holds the
distinction of being the richest woman in Hong Kong.
Daisy Ho Chiu Fung
Born in 1964, this daughter also
serves as a director at Shun Tak Holdings.
Maisy Ho Chiu Ha
Josie Ho Chiu Yi
An award-winning Hong Kong actress
and singer. Born in 1974 and married to Conroy Chan, she has described
herself as the “little black sheep” of the family.
Lawrence Ho Yau Lung
The eldest living son of Stanley
Ho, he received his education in Canada and then went on to become a
billionaire by running three Macau casinos in conjunction with Aussie James
Children by Ina Chan Un Chan
Florinda Ho Chiu Wan
Born in 1989. Once involved in a
tabloid love triangle with Asian celebrities Pakho Chau and Joel Chan San
Laurinda Ho Chiu Lin
Born in 1991. Romantically
linked to several Asian celebrities, including Kai Ko and Alex Fong
(although she denied the latter).
Orlando Ho Yau Kai
Also born in 1991, Orlando is the
twin of Laurinda. Received his education in the United States at Boston
Children by Angela Leong On Kei
Sabrina Ho Chiu Yeng
Born in 1990, she’s served as
the CEO of Poly Auction Macau Ltd, as well as being the founder and CEO of
Chiu Yeng Culture Limited and the owner of Regency Hotel Macau.
Arnaldo Ho Yau Heng
Born in 1993. Linked to a number
of female celebrities, including Moon Lau, Grace Chan, and Jeannie Chan.
Mario Ho Yau Kwan
Born in 1995, this youngest living
son of Stanley Ho is a former MIT student and fan of European football. He’s
also made plenty of tabloid headlines in Asia, as he was once romantically
linked to Kim Lim, a billionaire heiress and one of the so-called “Rich Kids
Alice Ho Chiu Yan
Born in 1999. The youngest living
child of Stanley Ho.
Born in 1997, this youngest son of Stanley
Ho tragically passed away in 2004 at the age of seven.
The trouble between the family members started in 2009, when Stanley Ho
suffered a serious fall at his home and underwent brain surgery. He spent more
than seven months in the hospital and has needed the use of a wheelchair ever
Since he lacked a definitive will, Ho’s offspring began wondering how his
sizable fortune would be divided up in the event of his death. This caused
various factions of the family to go into crisis mode, and the results were
In early 2011, the dispute boiled over regarding the transfer of ownership of
Lanceford, Ho’s private holding company. Lanceford suddenly issued more than
9,900 new shares, and all of these were purchased by a pair of companies in the
Virgin Islands belonging to a coalition of wives and children. Ho said that the
move left him with “almost nothing.”
Later, he appeared on television for a press conference to assure the public
that the family squabbles were behind them. Just a short time later, however,
his lawyers issued court proceedings accusing his second and third wives, along
with some of their children, of “improperly and illegally” changing the share
structure of the company.
After months of bickering and legal wrangling, a private settlement agreement
was reached. Under these terms, the ownership of Lanceford would remain
unchanged, while fourth wife Angela Leong On Kei would continue to run SJM
Holdings for another six years. Meanwhile, ownership of Ho’s massive Macau
mansion was transferred to daughter Angela Ho Chiu-yin.
Further details about the specifics of the agreement were not available, but
the peace within the family has held for several years. According to an official
statement issued in 2011, “A deed of settlement was executed on March 8 between
all branches of the Ho family. We have agreed that we shall work together and
continue to develop the gambling business in Macau founded by Dr. Ho and
operated by the Ho family to enable it to flourish.”
Honors Received by Stanley Ho
When you’re filthy rich, people are often tripping over themselves to shower
you with praise and honors. Billionaire Stanley Ho is no different, and he’s
racked up a number of accolades over the decades. The following list includes
some of the more notable examples.
Commander of the Order of Benefaction
the government of Portugal in 1970.
Commander of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator
Presented by the government of Portugal in 1981.
Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur
Awarded by the
French government in 1983.
Commander of the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem
– Presented by the United Kingdom in 1983.
Honorary Doctorate of Social Sciences
the University of Macau in 1984.
Grand Officer of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator
– Presented by the government of Portugal in 1985.
Insignia of the Order of the Sacred Treasure
Presented by the Japanese government in 1987.
Eqvitem Commendatorem Ordinis Sancti Gregorii Magni by His
Holiness Pope John Paul II
The honorary papal insignia was
bestowed on Dr. Ho in 1989.
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
granted this recognition in 1990 for his contributions to Hong Kong society.
Grand Cross of the Order of Merit
Presented by the
government of Portugal in 1990.
Honourable Order of the Crown of Perak
Awarded by the
government of Malaysia in 1990.
Naval Medal, Vasco da Gama
Presented by the
government of Portugal in 1991.
Silver Cross Medal of Social Solidarity
the government of Spain in 1993.
Great Cross of the Order of Prince Henrique
in 1995 for his contributions to society, this is the highest order granted
to a civilian by the Portuguese government.
Award for Outstanding Achievement
Presented to Ho in
1996 by the Chinese city of Guangzhou.
Honourable Order of the Crown of Terengganu
by the government of Malaysia in 1997.
Ho became the first living Chinese person in history to have a street in
Macau named after him when Dr. Stanley Ho Avenue was unveiled in 1998.
Medal of the Naval Cross, First Class
the government of Portugal in 1999.
Honourable Medal of Golden Lotus Flower
those who’ve rendered a high level of voluntary service within the community
of Macau. Awarded in 2001.
Gold Medal of Merit in Tourism
Presented by the
government of Portugal in 2001.
Gold Bauhinia Star
Once Hong Kong was transferred to
the ownership of China, this civilian award replaced the Order of the
British Empire. This was received in 2003 for his contributions to Hong
Kong’s youth services.
Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur
Awarded by the
French government in 2004.
Chinese Charity Award
Presented with this honor in
2005 and 2008.
Commander of the Order of the Crown
Presented by the
government of Belgium in 2007.
Grand Medal of Lotus Flower
The highest possible
recognition under the Macau honors and awards system, it recognizes a
lifelong contribution to the city. Ho received this honor in 2007.
Medal for Business Entrepreneurialism
this honor from the city of Cascais in 2008. At the same time, the street
next to the Estoril Casino was named Avenida Stanley Ho in his honor, making
him the first living Chinese citizen to have a street in Portugal named
Beijing Olympics Honour
Presented with this award
during the 2008 Summer Olympics.
G2E Asia Visionary Award
Received this honor at the
2009 G2E Asian conference.
Hong Kong Montblanc Arts Patronage Award
2009 by the Montblanc Cultural Foundation.
Grand Bauhinia Medal
In recognition of his
contributions to the overall well-being of Hong Kong, Ho received this
highest civilian award in 2010.
In addition to the above honors, Dr. Ho has been made an honorary citizen in
the following Chinese cities: Guangzhou, Nanhai, Foshan, Sanshui, Jiangmen,
Zhuhai, and Beijing.
He’s also been presented with honorary doctoral degrees from the following
schools: University of Macau, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic
University, The Open University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Academy for
Stanley Ho has made billions from the gambling industry in Macau, but he’s
also went to great lengths to improve the overall quality of his adopted home.
As he was once said, “Fulfilling my obligations to society is such a wonderful
source of happiness and satisfaction.”
In addition to creating numerous companies and business ventures, he’s been
prolific when it comes to having children. Thanks to four wives, Ho has produced
a total of 17 offspring over the course of his life.
Now in his nineties, Ho finally has the opportunity to relax after a life
spent building an empire. Whether it remains intact after his death, or becomes
fragmented thanks to squabbling relatives, remains to be seen.
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