Three strange links between Macau, North Korea: from Saddam Hussein to customs chief’s death
Casino deals, asylum offer for the Iraqi dictator and an unexplained demise
In 1999, Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun opened a HK$233 million casino in Pyongyang next to the Communist Party headquarters. The development was built after Hong Kong’s Emperor Group chairman, Albert Yeung Sau-shing, received an exclusive casino licence to operate in North Korea in 1996, which he sold in part to Ho.
A few days before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Pyongyang offered asylum to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein saying it would give him and his family a mountain to live on. The unexpected intermediary was Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho.
A STRANGE DEATH
The police ruled out homicide, but some speculate her death was linked to a seizure of valuable – and protected – agarwood at the airport. North Korea was trying to sell the wood on the international market, so the theory goes, and reacted violently to its seizure. ■