Stanley Ho, The Macau Casino King passes away at 98

Gaming mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun has passed away this afternoon at about 1:00 pm, Hong Kong media reported.

Ho had been under medical care for quite a long time at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital kidney dialysis and after his physical conditions started to deteriorate, his family was informed to come to the hospital and expect the worse.

Stanley Ho, The Macau Casino King passes away at 98
Stanley Ho, The Macau Casino King passes away at 98 | Image: Macaubusiness

His second wife, Lucina Lam King Ying, third wife, Ina Chan Un Chan, and fourth wife, Leong On-Kei were said to have been at the hospital.

The 98-year-old will forever be remembered for his gaming monopoly in Macau under Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM) exclusive concession until 2001 and seen as the godfather of gambling in Macau, Ho lived a colorful personal life and left his imprint as being the man who dominated the city’s casino empire for four decades.

With several of his 17 children continuing to stay in the business, the Ho legacy continues to live on in a different structure.

Born in 1921 as a component of the Ho Tung clan, which is one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious families, Mr. Ho faced hardship early in life when his father Robert Ho-tung had lost his fortune during the great depression and abandoned his family.

Two of Ho’s brothers committed suicide.

Ho won a scholarship to study in Hong Kong University yet was forced to abandon his plans when World War 2 forced his family to flee from the Japanese to Macau.

The Sir Robert Ho Tung Library was purchased in 1918 by Stanley Ho’s father, who lived there between 1941 and 1945. It was converted into a public library in accordance with Robert Ho-tung’s will.

Ho began working at a Japanese owned import-export firm in Macau and made his first fortune smuggling luxury goods into China in World War 2.

Ho later set up a kerosene company in 1943 and profited from the post-war construction in Hong Kong.

In 1962, Stanley Ho won monopoly rights over gambling in Macau as a major aspect of a consortium with Teddy Yip, Yip Hon, and Henry Fok, taking over a monopoly that was held by Tai Hing Company since 1934.

Ho retired as Chairman and Executive Director and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM Holdings) on June 12, 2018.

A colorful love life

Aside from his business, Mr. Ho was known for his colorful personal life, having married four times and fathered 17 children.

His first wife, Clementina Leitao, was from a prestigious family from Portugal and referred to widely as the ‘greatest beauty in Macau.’

Stanley Ho and his first wife Clementina Leitao, who was known for being a local beauty in Macau

Leitao’s grandfather was a lawyer and in the 1940s, Macau’s only notary public.

The couple married in 1942 and had four children, namely Robert, Jane, Angela, and Deborah.

However, Leitao’s health deteriorated in the 1970s when she suffered a partial memory loss in 1973.

Robert, her son, and his wife had also passed away in a car accident in 1981 and Jane Ho passed away aged 67 in 2014.

Ina Chan Un Chan, Leitao’s nurse became Mr. Ho’s third wife.

In the 1950s, Ho met Lucina Laam King-Ying, who was the daughter of a Chinese soldier who had battled in the war against Japan and was married to her in 1962 in Hong Kong, before polygamy was banned.

Laam’s Children joined the business, with Pansy, Daisy, and Maisy holding positions in STDM, Shun Tak Holdings, and MGM Macau, while Lawrence Ho became chairman of Melco International Development.

Lawrence Ho, one of Stanley Ho’s children from his second marriage, is the head of Melco International Development, one of the six major operators in Macau

His other youngster from the second marriage, Josie Ho, joined show business in Hong Kong.

Ina Chan, his third wife had met Mr. Ho when hired to take care of Leitao, had three children, namely Florinda, Laurinda, and Orlando.

Their relationship was cemented when Mr. Ho got her two apartments in Repulse Bay.

Currently, Mrs. Chan is the vice-chairwoman of Tung Wah Group of Hospital.

Angela Leong On-Kei, Stanley Ho’s fourth wife, met the tycoon in 1988 when they danced together at a private ball.

Leong was born in Guangzhou and was a dancer in a troupe.

Stanley Ho’s fourth wife, Angela Leong, is involved in SJM Holdings as well as in local politics as a legislator.

Angela Leong gave birth to five children, namely Sabrina, Arnaldo, Mario, Alice, and Ho Yau-kai.

Leong is the managing director of SJM Holdings and is also a director of Po Leung Kuk since 2005.

Leong is also a directly elected member of the Legislative Assembly (AL) and a delegate to the Jiangxi provincial Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), as well as a delegate to that of the Guangdong city of Zhuhai.

Ina Chan also serves at the Guangdong provincial CPPCC, and Pansy, Daisy, and Lawrence Ho also serve as delegates to numerous CPPCCs.