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Stanley Ho’s flight to Macau in World War II laid the foundation for his wealth. But it is not without controversy



Remembering the life of Stanley Ho, Macao's 'godfather of gambling'

But before Ho makes Macao, he must make it himself.

Born in 1921, Ho had a difficult time when his father fled to Saigon, after his business collapsed in the late 1920s, leaving the family side penniless. Not long after, World War II broke out.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Britain and America declared war on Japan. Japanese troops invaded the British colony of Hong Kong where, despite fierce resistance, the city fell on Christmas Day.

Ho, who had worked as an air raid guard, threw away his uniform for fear of being executed when Hong Kong was under Japanese domination, he recalled in Jill McGivering’s book, “Macao Remembers.”

But unlike the thousands who died of starvation, in battle or in Japanese hands, Ho had a choice.

His great-uncle was Sir Robert Hotung, a rich comprador from Eurasia, who was the first Chinese to live in the Peak of Hong Kong, a wealthy district where only Westerners were allowed to live.

In the 1940s, Sir Robert lived in Macao, and invited Ho, then 20 years old, to join him in the Portuguese colony where many opportunities awaited.

In the 1990s, Ho told historian Philip Snow, who wrote a book about the fall of Hong Kong and the Japanese occupation: “I made a lot of money from the war.”

This is how he does it.

Macau: City of Peace

In the early 1940s, with most of China under Japanese control, Macau found itself in a unique position in Asian theater.

Portugal remained neutral in the war, until 1944, and as such, Macau was also considered a neutral territory. This colony is managed by the Portuguese Governor Gabriel Maurício Teixeira, and Dr. The enigmatic Pedro José Lobo, known only as Dr. Lobo.

Japan, however, controls the seas and ports around Macao. That means Macau must work with Japan to allow food and supplies to enter the colony. For Teixeira and Lobo, it is a fragile balance between maintaining the neutral integrity of the region and avoiding open collaboration with Japan.

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Wartime conditions were very difficult in Macao. Short food supplies, rampant inflation and colonies have to deal with a growing number of Chinese and European refugees. Smuggling and black market developing.

To solve this problem Lobo created the Macao Cooperative Company (CCM), and Lobo asked Sir Robert Hotung if there was someone he could trust to work as a Corporate Secretary.

Sir Robert recommends Ho.

The CCM is arguably the most important institution in Macao during the war – the organization that fed the colonies. Its main role is to keep Macau alive economically, to be able to feed itself, and to balance fragile relations with Japan.

That one third is owned by Lobo, one third is owned by the richest Portuguese family of Macao, and the last third is owned by the Japanese Army.

Ho knew the settings when he joined.

In an interview with Simon Holberton of the Financial Times more than half a century later, Ho said: “I am responsible for the barter system, helping the Macau government to exchange machinery and equipment with Japan, in return for rice, sugar, beans.

“I was a semi-government official at the time. I was an intermediary.”

King of kerosene

As Secretary of the CMM, Ho was authorized by Lobo to feed Macau by exchanging whatever the island offered.

This is not office work. Ho must regularly travel by ship on payment to receive goods and bring them back to Macau. His work involved playing from Portuguese authorities, the Japanese military, triad gangs, and various Chinese factions.

In his memoir, Ho recalls that his first and most urgent task was learning Portuguese and Japanese because his job was to barter between the two.

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There is an element of courage to live Ho in wartime Macao. Sailing rice, vegetables, beans, flour, sugar and other supplies between Indo-Chinese French and Macao, along the southern Chinese coast and around Hainan Island, means avoiding pirate gangs that will carry your gold on your way out and stock up on ships enter.

Macau coastline in 1941.

Chinese guerrillas or nationalist Communists are equally interested in securing supplies or money for themselves, and many see CCM’s activities as collaboration with the enemy.

Japanese navy ships were known to fire on all kinds of civilian craft temporarily, later in the war, according to historian Geoffrey Gunn, American and British submarines were responsible for sinking whatever ships they thought were dealing with Japan.

Around this time, Ho opened a kerosene factory when the general fuel supply was running out, according to Joe Studwell, who conducted many interviews with Ho’s family colleagues for his book “Asian Godfathers.”

Near the end of the war, the Americans – worried that Japan would completely take over Macau and use it as a base to defend southern China and Hong Kong – bombed the Macao petrol terminal in early 1945 to refuse supplies to the Japanese navy and air force. compel.

The attack, wiping out the only other source of Macao kerosene, inadvertently made Ho important for the continued functioning of Macau and very rich.


After the war, Ho faced criticism that he had collaborated with Japan.

But the neutrality of the Macao war was always influenced by Japan – especially after the fall of Hong Kong. And in 1943, when Tokyo demanded the installation of a Japanese advisor to oversee Macau, a virtual Japanese protectorate was created on the island. Contact is unavoidable. Ho claimed to have given Colonel Sawa, the head of the Japanese military’s secret police in Macau, an English lesson.

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However, the Chinese Nationalist government, which has been aggressively fighting against Tokyo since 1937, considers Ho and CMM business transactions dangerous and supports Japan’s war on China.

Stanley Ho had accumulated wealth at the end of World War II. This picture is from 1971.

Chinese officials tried to arrest Ho for collaboration, but, according to his own account of the effort, the Portuguese colonial police protected him. By the end of 1945, Ho had become too entrenched, too important for the Makaca economy to be surrendered by the Portuguese government to China.

In his defense, Ho wrote that when he asked why he had to work with the Japanese with their treatment of the Chinese, and claimed he was told that “it was the Portuguese government’s order” and that “without food the Macao people would starve.”

After the war

At the end of World War II in 1945, Stanley Ho had obtained four important things – first, he had strengthened a lifelong relationship with Lobo, the unofficial big boss of Macao.

Then, in 1942, he married the daughter of a wealthy Portuguese family, giving him protection and social position. Third, he collected a lot of money and became a millionaire on his 24th birthday. Fourth, he established businesses in the trade of rice, kerosene and construction.

Within a few weeks after the Japanese surrender in August 1945, Ho returned to Hong Kong to make strategic investments, such as buying a ship to start the first post-war ferry service between the two colonies.

He has cash, position, family and good friends in useful positions.

He was ready to remake Macao and invest heavily in post-war Hong Kong. In his memoir about that period Ho wrote: “Macau was heaven during the war.”

As they say, Ho has a very good war.

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Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT



Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT

Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (KTM) finished the first two free practices of the MotoGP Grand Prix in Assen in 16th place.

Oliveira finished the day with a time of 1.34.676 minutes, 1.402 seconds behind the best rider of the day, Italy’s Francesco Banagia (Ducati). Spaniard Aleix Espargaro (April) was second with 0.178 seconds and French champion Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) was third with 0.305 seconds.

After the first session in the rain, in which the rider from Almada was sixth fastest, the rain stopped before the start of the second session.

The riders started with intermediate tires, but as the track in Assen in the Netherlands, considered the “cathedral” of motorsport, dried up, they installed dry tires (slicks).

Under these conditions, Miguel Oliveira was losing ground in the table, ending the day in 16th place, despite an improvement of about nine seconds from the morning’s record, in rain, in which Australian Jack Miller (Ducati) was the fastest. , fifth in the afternoon.

On Saturday there will be two more free practices and qualifications.

The 10 fastest in the set of the first three sessions go directly to the second stage of qualification (Q2), and the remaining 14 “brawl” in Q1, resulting in the two fastest qualifying to the next stage.

Fabio Quartararo enters this 11th round of the season leading the championship with 172 points, while Miguel Oliveira is in 10th place with 64 points.

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Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a “natural partner” of the European Union at the moment – Observer



Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a "natural partner" of the European Union at the moment - Observer

This Thursday, Portugal’s foreign minister said that at a time when the European Union (EU) seeks to diversify suppliers and markets, MERCOSUR is a natural partner whose importance cannot be “underestimated”.

For Portugal, “the current delicate context makes us appreciate even more the mutual advantages of the Agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR,” João Gomes Cravinho said, without directly referring to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“At a time when the EU is seeking to diversify suppliers and markets in order to ensure greater strategic autonomy, MERCOSUR is a natural partner, whose importance we cannot underestimate“, the minister added at a conference entitled “Brazil and Portugal: perspectives for the future”, which takes place from Thursday to Friday at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is a South American economic bloc created in 1991, whose founding members are Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.


But still, within the framework of the European Union, Joao Gomes Cravinho believed that EU strategic partnership with Brazil left ‘untapped’.

The Minister stressed that in the context of the EU, Portugal “always knew how to use its position in favor of strengthening relations with Brazil.”

Therefore, it was during the Portuguese presidency, in 2007, that a “strategic partnership with Brazil” was established, he stressed.

However, according to the head of Portuguese diplomacy, this is “a partnership that has clearly not been used for a variety of reasons and which still retains the ability to position Brazil as Europe’s great interlocutor for South America.”

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With regard to bilateral relations between the two countries, the minister emphasized that “in this context of global turmoil, the wisdom of the central characteristic common to the foreign policy of Brazil and Portugal, which is active participation in many multilateral structures, in recognition of the indispensability of multilateralism, international cooperation and global rules based order.

Portugal meets with Brazil in all areas of Portuguese foreign policy. We are Atlantic, we are Ibero-American and Portuguese-speaking,” he said.

In the Atlantic dimension, “Portugal and Brazil are united by an ocean, which we recognize as growing in importance in the context of new, complex and truly existential issues,” he said.

According to João Gomes Cravinho, “Some of these problems can be answered in the Atlantic Center, co-founded by Portugal and Brazil”, and “the other part of the huge ocean problems will be addressed in detail at the great Summit.” Oceans”, which will be held in Lisbon next week.

“In any of the areas, new prospects are opening up for Portuguese-Brazilian relations,” he stressed.

With regard to Ibero-America, the minister believes that Portugal and Brazil share “an enormous strategic space with the Castilian-speaking countries, where a joint Portuguese-Brazilian reflection is undoubtedly recommended on the potential to exploit opportunities and create synergies”.

“Value of CPLP [Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa] is gaining more and more recognition at the international level – and the evidence of this is the growing number of states that become associate observers” of the organization, he believes.

“Because they want to engage with us and reinforce the value of the linguistic, cultural and historical ties that unify lusophony and create a unique dynamic for relationships with third parties,” he stressed.

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But even at this level, he argued that there was an urgent need to find a “convergence of visions and desires” that “allows us to enhance” our “separate realities.”

The minister also mentioned that “despite the break caused by the pandemic”, Portugal has a “real air bridge” with Brazil, consisting of more than 74 weekly TAP flights, which is a cause and effect of “a dynamic that is being updated and reinvented”. relations between the two countries.

This dynamic, according to Gomes Cravinho, is also reflected in economic and commercial relations.

Thus, “Brazil is the first Latin American export market for Portuguese merchandise and is already the fourth largest merchandise export destination (outside the EU).

“However, the conviction remains that the potential is far from being realized, and that nostalgia for the future entails a vision of a different profile of our exchanges, a technological, creative profile that corresponds to global geo-economic transformations,” he defended. .

At this stage, João Gomes Cravinho also underlined the potential of the port of Sines, “whose strategic importance, which has long been noted, takes on new importance in the troubled times that we are going through.”

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A cycle of Portuguese cinema will be held in New York from Friday.



A cycle of Portuguese cinema will be held in New York from Friday.

Dand from June 24 to 30, an event called “New Stories from Portuguese Cinema” will present the perspectives of a new generation of filmmakers “whose films embody the artistic, social and political reflections that mark the 21st century,” according to the organization in a statement.

Balad o batrachio by Leonor Teles, Amor, Avenidas Novas by Duarte Coimbra and O Cordeiro de Deus by David Pinheiro Vicente are three of the 20 films that are part of this cinematic cycle.

Pedro Cabeleira, Laura Carreira, Susana Nobre, Joao Rosas, Tomas Paula Marquez, Catarina de Souza and Nick Tyson, Maya Cosa and Sergio da Costa, Christel Alves Meira, Paulo Carneiro, Pedro Peralta, Diogo Salgado, Catarina Vasconcelos and Aya Korezli other directors integrated into this movie cycle.

In addition to FLAD, this event is also the result of a partnership with New York-based Anthology Film Archives, an iconic venue for independent and experimental filmmaking, hosting a Portuguese film cycle featuring Francisco Valente.

“Anthology Film Archives has been a reference space for over 50 years. It seemed to us ideal to promote the works of these directors, emphasizing their uniqueness and quality. We believe that Portuguese cinema can gain more space in the United States and we want to do our part to internationalize it,” said FLAD President Rita Faden.

Francisco Valente, guest programmer, explained that the 18 selected directors are distinguished by “their unwavering commitment to using the screen to express their personal freedom, reflect their racial and gender identity, and develop narratives that comment on and expand our reality.” – in Portugal, in the United States, or in that beautiful and imaginary country called cinema.

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This connection between Portugal and the United States of America is also expressed in the documentary “In the Footsteps of Utopia”, based on the testimonies of “weird” teenagers from Queens, filmed by Catarina de Souza and Nick Tyson, who will come to New York to find out their joint production, which closes this cycle.

The program of the cycle is available in the Screenings section of the Anthology Film Archives “website” ( and on the FLAD “website” ( /uploads/2022/02/new_tales_final_bx.pdf).

See also: Michael J. Fox received a humanitarian “Oscar”, and Diane Warren – an honorary “Oscar”.

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