Stanley Ho Hung-sun in 1962.
Stanley Ho Hung-sun in 1962.

Happy 97th birthday Stanley Ho: 5 things to know about the casino magnate

The tycoon officially retired from SJM Holdings in June having founded the company more than half a century ago

Topic |   Stanley Ho

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Stanley Ho Hung-sun in 1962.
Stanley Ho Hung-sun in 1962.

1. He is Bruce Lee’s cousin

It is well known that Stanley Ho Hung-sun’s family is one of the most influential and wealthiest in Hong Kong and Macau.

But less known, however, is that Bruce Lee’s mother is the daughter of the brother of Ho Fook, Stanley Ho’s grandfather.

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Bruce Lee (centre) in 1972.
Bruce Lee (centre) in 1972.

Stanley Ho’s grandfather Ho Fook is the younger brother of Robert Ho Tung, the tycoon who set the family’s “foundation”.

Both have a younger maternal half-brother, Ho Kom-tong, who had 12 wives and more than 30 children, including an adopted daughter Grace Ho Oi-yu, who was Bruce Lee’s mother.

Therefore, Bruce Lee is the grandson of the Ho family and is a cousin of Stanley Ho.

2. He can hold his own on the dance floor

Stanley Ho and Angela Leong On-kei.
Stanley Ho and Angela Leong On-kei.

Stanley Ho was a keen dancer and well-known for his waltz, cha-cha and tango skills.

In 1988, he met Angela Leong On-kei, then a dance instructor, at a private event in at the Casino Lisboa.

Stanley Ho’s fourth wife is now the managing director of SJM Holdings with a net worth of some HK$4.1 billion (US$520 million)

3. He was a smuggler during the second world war

Japanese troops attacked the then British territory of Hong Kong in December 1941.
Japanese troops attacked the then British territory of Hong Kong in December 1941.

Nicknamed the “godfather” and the “King of Gambling”, Stanley Ho somehow bore some resemblance to the young Vito Corleone, the character portrayed by Robert De Niro in the Godfather Part II, as both started with an “import and export” business.

During the second world war, it is reported that a young Stanley Ho smuggled food and luxury goods into China from Macau, then a Portuguese colony with neutrality between Hong Kong, Japan and China, and made his first fortune by the age of 24.

4. He is Hong Kong’s number one

Stanley Ho’s Rolls-Royce Phantom has an extended wheelbase, with a consort red interior and classic burr walnut veneers.
Stanley Ho’s Rolls-Royce Phantom has an extended wheelbase, with a consort red interior and classic burr walnut veneers.

Stanley Ho is one of the wealthiest tycoons in Hong Kong and Asia, worth around HK$50 billion.

He has a number of cars, with his favourite being Rolls-Royce.

His 2003 Rolls-Royce Phantom cost HK$7 million, while he also owns the “HK 1” registration plate which is said to be worth an estimated HK$100 million.

5. He was ‘second last, if not the last’ at school

Stanley Ho (third from left) and tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung (second from left) at an anniversary exhibition of Queen’s College.
Stanley Ho (third from left) and tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung (second from left) at an anniversary exhibition of Queen’s College.

Stanley Ho studied at Queen’s College in Hong Kong, an esteemed public school with a number of famous alumni including Sun Yat-sen, Henry Fok Ying-tung, Lee Hysan, as well as Ho Fook and Robert Ho Tung 1931 to 1939.

His academic results were very poor during the first two years, and in a 2007 interview he said he ranked “the second last, if not the last.”

But in the second term of his third year, he became the best student in the class motivated by a downturn in the family business.

He retained his place as the number one student, and obtained a scholarship not only from Queen’s College every year but also from the University of Hong Kong.

He was a science student at the University of Hong Kong from 1939 until 1941.

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