Thursday, October 9, 2014

Robbing the Baron

Hey, seen a maid sporting a Rolex?
No one should feel amused to hear that someone has been burgled. However, if that victim happens to be Hong Kong's Cecil Chao - the property billionaire who has made a second career of openly serial bachelorhood, and who has famously offered HK$500 million to any bachelor who can set his lovely lesbian daughter Gigi back onto the path of heterogamy - perhaps a little schadenfreude might be excused. As reported in the SCMP, he is the latest of several burglaries in Hong Kong of tycoons.
In Mr. Chao's case, the storyline is that someone approached his 20,000 square foot mansion (modeled after Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water house) late at night, climbed in through Mr. Chao's latest girlfriend's bedroom window, made their way into a bathroom which contained a safe, pried it open, and then took off with six antiques, five watches and twenty items of jewelry worth HK$10 million (c. US$1.2 million). This incident happened when the property's CCTV happened to be shut down for repairs.
A few questions of curiosity immediately spring to mind:
  • Is it coincidence that the burglaries were made while much of Hong Kong's police force was preoccupied with the Umbrella Movement?
  • How can this not be an inside job, since the thief was probably aware of the wonky CCTV system as well as able to negotiate the labyrinth of Villa Cecil to find the safe?
  • Why is there a safe in a bathroom anyway? Has Mr. Chao cornered the local market on Viagra and rhino horn powder? 
  • Why does his girlfriend have or need her own bedroom? Is Stud-man Cecil only half the man he once was? Or maybe this is the modern-day version of Raise the Red Lantern, where the rich Chinese tycoon chooses between his many wives each night by hanging a red lantern outside her bed chamber.
While authorities are investigating, Mr. Chao is not commenting. That's unfortunate, because it would be good to know if the HK$500 million reward for the lucky winning he-man is still on offer, or whether it will be revised. To, say, HK$490 million. 


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