Foreign citizens at Cascais’ toponymy – Stanley Ho
Cascais and Estoril’s history is deeply rooted in the origins and lives of many foreign citizens who, at a certain point of their life, have sought this destination either as a safe haven for them and their families, for its points of interest, for entrepreneurial investment or for being an inspirational site.
The businessman Stanley Ho is one of them. His huge legacy is still nowadays an important and irreplaceable symbol for Estoril’s life.
Natural from Hong Kong, Ho Hung Sun, mostly known as Stanley Ho, was born on 25th November 1921.
Stanley Ho was the ninth son from a family of entrepreneurs who lost everything during the Second World War. Having made a fortune in Macao, Stanley Ho was considered Macao’s wealthiest person as well as featuring among Asia’s richest personalities. In 2006 and according to Forbes, Stanley was considered the 86th richest man in the world, owning approximately 6.5 million dollars.
But where was the relationship between this Asian multimillionaire, Estoril and Portugal born?
In 1948, Stanley Ho married Clementina Ângela de Melo Leitão at Hong Kong’s cathedral. Clementina was a member of one of Macao’s most influential families who curiously at the time, had Portuguese origins, after having fixed their residency in this territory during the Portuguese colonial period.
Due to his wife’s important social status – Clementina Ângela’s father was a hotel and casino entrepreneur and Macao’s online public notary – Stanley Ho’s company, The Society of Travelling and Entertainment of Macau Limited, obtained from Macao’s government the monopoly for exploring the gaming sector. This status, issued in 1962, enabled Stanley Ho to become the owner of one of Asia’s largest casinos – Hotel and Casino Lisboa in Macao.
With a life linked to gaming and nightlife activities, with investment in horse and dog races, owning betting establishments, hotels, malls and nightclubs and also fluent in English, Chinese and Portuguese, Stanley Ho soon became a very famous and successful businessman, both in Macao and in other locations worldwide, Portugal being no exception.
Stanley Ho is intimately connected to Portugal’s largest casino group, Casino Estoril group – which includes Casino Estoril, Casino Lisboa and Casino Póvoa. In honour to this personality, Cascais Municipality decided, back in 2008, to rename the avenue where Europe’s largest casino is located, after him. Avenida Stanley Ho (Stanley Ho’s Avenue) is a memorial to this determined and visionary entrepreneur that made gaming a source of wealth and development for Estoril, making it an important site for leisure and tourism. According to his own words, cited at the distinction ceremony “Estoril is the crib of national tourism and my love for Portugal lives in Estoril”.
By Margarida Brito | Text and Photos