Hong Hong tycoon Cecil Chao withdraws marriage bounty for lesbian daughter Gigi

Shipping magnate says he 'isn't happy', but backs down after daughter penned poignant open letter asking him to accept her for who she is

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The Independent Online

A Hong Kong magnate who promised a multimillion-pound reward to the man who could persuade his lesbian daughter to marry him has withdrawn the offer saying he "respects her choice".


Cecil Chao made global headlines in September 2012 when he offered a £40m dowry, and later doubled the amount, to any man who would marry his daughter, Gigi Chao, despite the fact she had already entered into a civil partnership with her female partner of almost nine years, Sean Eav.

But it seems the 77-year old shipping tycoon has finally come to terms with his daughter's sexuality, insisting that he "isn't happy with her choice" but ultimately respects her decision.

"If Gigi has said that this is what she chooses, then it's all over," he told CNN. "I can't say I am happy with her choice, but if this is her choice then it's for her."

And, for the "time being", the money will stay in his pocket.

On Wednesday, Ms Chao, 34, penned an open letter declaring her love for Ms Eav, 47, and asked her father, who has never been married and claims to have slept with 10,000 women, to accept her for who she is.

She wrote: "As your daughter I would want nothing more than to make you happy. But in terms of relationships your expectations of me, and the reality of who I am, are not coherent.

"However, I do love my partner Sean, who does a good job of looking after me, ensuring I am fed, bathed and warm enough every day, and generally cheering me up to be a happy, jolly girl.


"Now, I’m not asking you to be best of friends; however, 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."

Ms Chao said she was "sorry" to have misled her father and hoped the letter would set the record straight between the two.

But, despite her heartfelt plea, the tycoon has no intention to get to know his daughter's partner, telling CNN he won't be "mixing my life with her" anytime soon.

Ms Chao married her partner of almost nine years in a civil ceremony in Paris in 2012, prompting the anger of her controversial father, who claims he made the offer "to provide the best choice for Gigi".

Hong Kong does not recognise same-sex marriages or civil unions, and, until 1991, homosexuality was considered a criminal offence.