Asia-Pacific

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Hong Kong billionaire Cecil Chao 'doubles marriage bounty to £80m' for man who marries his lesbian daughter

Heather Saul

Published 24/01/2014|10:16

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Gigi Chao, right, with her partner Sean Eve

A Hong Kong billionaire who offered £40 million to the man who married his gay daughter has now suggested he may double his ‘marriage bounty’, local media has reported.

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Shipping magnate and property developer Cecil Chao Sze-tsung made global headlines in September 2012 when he offered a reward to the man who could persuade his daughter Gigi to marry him, despite the fact she had already entered into a civil partnership with her female partner of almost nine years, Sean Eav.

Mr Chao told The Financial Times in January 2013 that “anyone who comes along to pursue Gigi, we will give them a moderately deluxe life.”

It has been reported that Mr Chao had intended to pass control of his business empire over to his daughter, but would consider handing it over to his two other sons if she does not marry.

Now, the 77-year-old has reportedly told the Malaysian newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau that he would consider doubling the money offered to HK $1billion after his first offer attracted 20,000 unsuccessful responses.

He also insists it is "not too late" to change his daughter's mind on her sexuality, and is quoted as saying: “I don’t want to interfere with my daughter’s private life. I only hope for her to have a good marriage and children as well as inherit my business.”

Ms Chao told the SCMP: “I don’t think my dad’s offering of any amount of money would be able to attract a man I would find attractive.’

“I would be happy to befriend any man willing to donate huge amounts of money to my charity Faith in Love, provided they don't mind that I already have a wife.

‘Third and lastly, thank you Daddy, I love you too.”

She said on Wednesday she has repeatedly asked her father to stop talking to the press about the bounty, but her calls have fallen on deaf ears, the SCMP reported.

In an interview with the newspaper last year, Ms Chao said it was difficult dealing with the sudden publicity after her father "threw her out of the closet", because "Hong Kong is horrible at accepting and welcoming diversity."

Ms Chao is an executive director of luxury property development company Cheuk Nang, which has projects in Hong Kong, China, Macau and Malaysia. Ms Chao is now considered as a LGBT activist and has become closely involved in Big Love Alliance, a gay rights group that lobbies the government to pass anti-discrimination legislation.

Independent News Service

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