Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 July, 2011, 12:00am

Being rich can shorten your life expectancy on the mainland

Being a Chinese billionaire carries not inconsiderable risks. Mainland authorities executed 14 billionaires over the past eight years, reports Bloomberg, citing the New Culture News newspaper.

These included Yuan Baojing, a former stockbroker executed by lethal injection in 2006 for the murder of a man who had tried to blackmail him. And Wang Zhendong, chairman of the Yingkou Donghua Trading Group, who was executed in 2008 for a scheme that persuaded investors to buy and breed ants, the newspaper reported.

The mainland has about 1,900 yuan billionaires, according to the 2010 Hurun report, which is twice as many than in 2009.

However, execution is not the only threat to being a billionaire. Death by unnatural causes claimed 39 during the past eight years. These included 17 suicides, 15 murders and seven accidents. Another 19 died from work-related illnesses.

Maybe getting rich isn't so glorious after all.

Armed for the road

But if you are rich and fed up with your Hummer, or your shiny black people mover, then consider a custom-made 1925 Rolls-Royce New Phantom. This gem was originally commissioned for Umed Singh II, Maharaja of Kotah, India, who used it to go tiger hunting.

The car is to be auctioned by Bonhams at its annual Quail Lodge sale next month in Carmel, California during the Pebble Beach Car Week.

The car is expected to sell for US$750,000 to US$1 million. 'The massive and impeccably crafted car is powered by an 8.0-litre, 6-cylinder engine with dual-spark ignition that's set to a low gearing ratio, allowing it to creep powerfully through the roughshod jungles of Rajasthan,' the auctioneer's blurb says.

It also comes with a hidden safe, a nickel-plated hissing snake horn, mounted Howdah gun (double-barrel shotgun in pistol form), a rifle stand, two searchlights for night spotting, a mountable Lantaka cannon and a machine gun on an attached trailer.

The current owner apparently declined a suggestion by the Indian consulate that the car be repatriated to India and displayed in a museum. Damn poor show - don't you think?

Flush with cash

The wheel of fortune appears to have turned against Stanley Ho Hung-sun's Grand Lisboa casino in Macau.

It's had to hand out four million-dollar-plus jackpots in four weeks, according to Macau Business. The highest jackpot was won by a gambler from Yunnan who walked away with HK$3.2 million from a royal flush at a Caribbean Stud Poker table.

Business is war

We have marked our diary for a seminar for small- and medium-sized enterprises on August 17.

The seminar is entitled 'The All-rounded Wisdom of 'The Art of War'' and is organised by the Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs, which comes under the Trade and Industry Department.

The speaker is Albert Cheung, who has a long list of credentials: founder of the Hong Kong Holistic Centre, guest lecturer of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, tutor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and financial secretary of the Innovative Entrepreneur Association.

He will be giving an overview of Chinese philosophical and military theories in his talk. He will also share how SMEs can apply these theories to inspire creativity, formulate winning strategies and foster leadership.

Sounds just the thing for 21st-century companies.