HK lesbian appeals to tycoon dad over dowry offer
HONG KONG (AP) — The lesbian daughter of a flamboyant Hong Kong tycoon who publicly offered millions of dollars to any man who could woo her into marriage appealed to her father in an open letter published Wednesday to accept her for who she is.
Cecil Chao made world headlines in 2012 when he tried to find a man who could successfully win his daughter, Gigi Chao, away from her partner by offering 500 million Hong Kong dollars ($65 million), an offer that a Malaysian newspaper who interviewed him last week said he has doubled.
In a letter to her father published Wednesday by two Hong Kong newspapers, Gigi Chao said she knows it’s “difficult for you to understand, let alone accept” how she could be romantically attracted to a woman.
The tycoon made his offer after learning that his daughter had eloped with her partner, Sean Eav, to France, where they had a church blessing. While Hong Kong decriminalized homosexuality in 1991, it does not legally recognize same-sex marriage.
Gigi Chao, 34, added that “it would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being.” She confirmed to the AP that she wrote the letter.
She added, “I will always forgive you for thinking the way you do, because I know you think you are acting in my best interests.”
Sacha Baron Cohen, the actor behind “Borat,” is reportedly working on a movie inspired by the tycoon’s proposal, according to Hollywood trade publications.
Cecil Chao, who made his fortune as a Hong Kong property developer, has a reputation for being a playboy with a love for Rolls-Royces. He once claimed to have had 10,000 girlfriends but has never married. Gigi Chao is one of his three children by three different women.
The South China Morning Post, one of the newspapers that published the letter, reported last week that since her father went public with his offer, she has received “strange” phone calls from would-be suitors, and that most open by saying, “I want to be a billionaire!”