In the September 13 issue of Forbes Asia Ron Gluckman files a profile of the Chus — dubbed the “first family” of golf in China by the magazine for their massive resorts in Shenzhen and Hainan. Gluckman even managed to score an interview with patriarch David Chu, which I am told is no easy task. While the eldest Chu may be a bit of a recluse, his company appears to live for the spotlight. Thus much of what’s in the story you may have already heard before.
Gluckman does try to address one question I am often asked about the gigantic $4.4 billion Mission Hills project on Hainan Island: Where does all the money come from? Alas, such details are not easy to nail down:
The company is tight-lipped about how it’s funding this massive project, declining to name any of the other investors or say whether any funds are borrowed. A statement from the company says only that $880 million has been spent so far and that “investors include entrepreneurs and professionals from different industries from China and Hong Kong.” It also won’t disclose its annual revenue and profit.
Further down in the piece, this juicy passage comes out of nowhere:
In 2002 Mission Hills became entangled in a scandal when one of its investors was murdered amid a suit against the company. A single shot to the head killed Harry Lam Hon-lit after he sat down to his usual breakfast at the Luk Yu Teahouse on Stanley Street in Central. The killing occurred as a court was due to hear his lawsuit to halt work and sales at Mission Hills over a dispute on the value of his shares. He held rights equivalent to a 3% stake in the project, according to reports, and said this entitled him to sell memberships.
The case received widespread publicity in a city fascinated by gangland disputes. The killers fled to China, where they were arrested. Eventually the web of intrigue spread from the killers, who reports said were former People’s Liberation Army soldiers, to a network of paymasters hired by Yeung Ka-on, a kung fu actor turned businessman. Six people were convicted in 2006, including Yeung, but no motive or link to the victim was established.