Nepal has its first US dollar billionaire. Well, the first official one, anyway. Many billionaires go to any lengths to stay under the Forbes radar. But this one has been outed. He has just made it onto the Forbes billionaire list.
He is Binod Chaudhary, a Nepalese of Indian descent and his source of wealth is listed as “diversified.” His family apparently went from supplying goods to the erstwhile and ill-fated royal family to operating the country’s first department store. The Chaudhary Group is into banking, food, cement, property, hotels, power and electronics, according to Forbes. Funny how cement real estate and hotels go together. He told China Daily he made his money investing in property abroad and indeed, he has just opened his latest venture, an exclusive boutique hotel on the ancient Tea Horse Road in China’s Yunnan province, called the Arro Khampa.
Other people bring back beef jerky for colleagues, but when he travels, he buys properties with the potential to become prime over time. Five years ago he went for a spot of de-tox and rejuvenation to the Farm, the health spa resort in the Philippines. He liked it so much he bough it. Then, his son Rahul says, he went trekking in Yunnan province. “That time he bought property for a boutique hotel.” What would he buy if he went for a stroll in the Hong Kong countryside? A chunk of north east New Territories farmland, no doubt.
A footnote to my disastrous day in London two weeks ago when I lost my wallet in Dublin airport and had to blag my way onto a National Express coach and then a Great Western train without a physical ticket. Being wallet-less and cash-less, I rang a friend and begged him to buy the tickets online, but not being able to produce the credit card that bought them, the various officious officials involved could not issue me physical tickets. They could see I had indeed bought a ticket because I showed them the email evidence on my iphone – but they would not give me real tickets without the credit card. This is weird because airlines allow you to print e-tickets with no other evidence.
Anyway, I managed by fair means (pleading) and foul (sobbing) to get home. Yesterday the Good Samaritan friend emailed me to say that because I had not “processed” the online tickets – had them printed, then stamped by the ticket collector – both the bus and train company assumed I never travelled, cancelled the tickets and refunded the pounds 70. Two things. Firstly, if this had been an airline, it would be impossible to claim the money back for a no-show. And secondly, I don’t recommend this as a wicked ruse to travel free around the UK. As my kind friend said: “this can only happen once.”