Hong Kong billionaire Pansy Ho at 60: from friendships with Canto-pop icons Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung, to taking over her casino tycoon father Stanley Ho’s business empire
You probably know Pansy Ho Chiu-king as one of the many children of late businessman Stanley Ho, aka Macau’s “King of Gambling”, whose brood is estimated to number 16 offspring.
Pansy is a daughter from his second marriage, to wife Lucina Laam King-ying, and is known as one of the richest and most successful businesswomen in Hong Kong.
Chairing Shun Tak Holdings and being a major shareholder in various companies, including her father’s SJM and MGM China, she is ranked No 28 in Forbes’ “2022 Hong Kong’s 50 Richest” and currently has a net worth of a cool US$3.4 billion.
A showbiz start
Ho briefly dabbled in the entertainment industry when she was just 19 years old. The late singer Danny Chan Pak-keung introduced her to showbiz, the two being said to have met in party district Lan Kwai Fong in 1981. Later that year, Ho had a cameo in the TVB drama Breakthrough, which starred Chan as the male lead.
Despite her interest in art and culture, she did not continue to pursue an acting career. With a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business from Santa Clara University, California, she started working in the commercial field, and founded one of Hong Kong’s most successful PR companies, Occasions, in 1987.
Ho has plenty of showbiz soul mates
Leaving showbiz did not stop her from befriending some of Hong Kong’s biggest stars of the 80s, with Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Cherie Chung and, of course, Danny Chan among her close friends.
Indeed, her relationship with Chan was high profile. The two were frequently seen together at balls and events throughout the 80s, and occasionally caught by the lens of the paparazzi.
They were always close, but never behaved too intimately in public nor admitted they were dating. When Chan was asked by an interviewer about his relationship with Ho, he said they were soul mates. Equally, Ho would explain their closeness as best friends, or brother and sister.
Marriage ... and divorce
All speculation came to an end when Ho married Julian Hui, the grandson of Central Development Corporation founder and “King of Ships” Hui Oi-chow, in 1991. The union of the two wealthy families led to one of the city’s most spectacular weddings, spread over three nights of banquets, with a budget of HK$20 million.
In October 1993, Danny Chan passed away due to brain failure after 17 months in a coma. Ho was seen weeping at Chan’s funeral, where she served as one of the pallbearers despite her marital status – breaking a Chinese tradition.
In the late 1990s, Ho and Hui were said to be both seeking relationships outside their marriage. Ho began dating Gilbert Yeung, the eldest son of Empire Group’s chairman Albert Yeung, but Stanley Ho publicly spoke about his disapproval after Yeung was arrested for the possession of illegal drugs in 2000. Even though the couple broke up, Ho subsequently announced her intention to divorce Hui and the divorce was finalised that same year.
Since then, Ho has only been associated with former Commercial Radio senior executive Winnie Yu Tsang. Ho describes Yu as a “rare confidant” and says nothing more, shifting the media’s attention to her family business instead.
- Ranked by Forbes at the 28th richest person in Hong Kong, Pansy Ho Chiu-king runs Shun Tak Holdings and is a major shareholder in SJM and MGM China in Macau
- Before founding PR company Occasions, she was in TVB drama Breakthrough with close friend Danny Chan, and partied with 80s stars Cherie Chung, Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung