Hong Kong billionaire to double dowry for gay daughter
The Hong Kong business tycoon that offered 500 million Hong Kong dollars ($64 million) to any man that could win the love of his lesbian daughter two years ago is now considering doubling the "marriage bounty" to find a suitor.
Billionaire property developer Cecil Chao reportedly hinted to Malaysian financial publication The Edge that he may increase the dowry to 1 billion Hong Kong dollars if someone could capture her heart.
"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," 77-year-old Chao told the publication, the AFP reported.
His initial offer, which attracted 20,000 suitors, was made a week after 34-year-old Gigi Chao revealed she married long-time partner Sean Eav in France. Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in Hong Kong.
The news of the bounty has left Gigi, a well-known Hong Kong socialite who is also a director at her father's property development company Cheuk Nang, and her partner of nine years feeling "distraught."
Responding to her father's latest offer in an interview with the South China Morning Post (SCMP), she said, "First of all, I'm concerned about his use of the word 'dowry' in an Asian country, as it is well known that dowry deaths are a human rights concern in India, and I don't want people to step backward on hearing this news."
"Secondly, I don't think my dad's offering of any amount of money would be able to attract a man I would find attractive. Alternatively, 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," Gigi told the SCMP.
Gigi is well-respected activist for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights in Hong Kong and is a founding member of the local gay rights group Big Love Alliance.
When asked whether her father's public campaign to marry her off to a man had put a strain on their relationship, she said, "I understand that he loves me, it's just he's from another time and it's difficult for him to understand the plight of the LGBT [community]."
"At the office it's business as usual. At family gatherings we hug and dance. And we just agree to disagree on what marriage is and family is," she added.
—By CNBC's Ansuya Harjani. Follow her on Twitter @Ansuya_H