While the casinos in Macau crash and burn with their share prices worth billions going up in flames, thoughts turn to Robert Ho, number one son of the late casino magnate and powerful horse owner Stanley Ho.
It’s a story pretty much shrouded in mystery- and a movie waiting to be made.
Some might remember Robert when he returned to Hong Kong after several years experiencing everything that made Swinging London really swing.
He wore a three-quarter length velvet jacket- even in summer- and was always with another young Portuguese named Carlos Leitao.
Carlos was the singer of sorts in a rough and tumble band in Hong Kong called the Ragamuffins. They were hardly good, but with his Afro and colourful bell bottoms and peace medallions, Carlos had a certain pulling power.
Both Robert and Carlos dressed like very rich dandies, something influenced by the young Ho having watched one of the first performances in London by a newcomer to Rock named Jimi Hendrix.
He and Carlos, who was said to be somehow related to Stanley Ho, were inseparable. This is until the singing Ragamuffin was arrested for sex with quite a number of underage expat girls who attended the Secondary school in Hong Kong called St George’s.
After spending a few months in jail, Leitao was deported to Macau where, this time, he was caught having sex with an underage girl- an American tourist holidaying with her parents of the then-Portuguese enclave- in the back of a bus. He was perhaps showing her a different side to Macau.
Carlos just couldn’t help himself when in the company of girls and they, in turn, found him cute and a sexual magnet in a Marc Bolan kinda way.
After the Macau incident, Leitao was quickly despatched to Portugal where he was made to join the army. He’s said to have been shot dead a short time later in an ambush by a group of rebels. He couldn’t have been more than 23.
A couple of short years later, and after a mysterious disappearance act, Robert Ho returned to public life after going through a massive makeover.
He was now clean, all business and groomed to be heir apparent to the legendary Stanley Ho. His resemblance to his father wasn’t hard to miss.
He was by then married to Suki Poitier, the model, London It girl and famous muse of the tragic figure of the drug addled Rolling Stone Brian Jones and very much part of the band’s circus. Jones was to die after a mysterious drowning in his pool shortly after being replaced in the Stones, the band he put together.
While holidaying in Europe and driving back to Paris from Portugal, the car that Robert Ho, 33, was in with his wife was involved in a crash. The young couple was killed instantly. They left behind two toddlers. That was in 1981.
What happened to the kids? No idea.
What’s intriguing is the almost complete lack of information and very few photos available of Robert and Suki Ho.
He’s almost become The Man Who Didn’t Exist.
Copyright ©️ Hans Ebert