29 Jan 2014

Tycoon's daughter defends sexuality

9:14 pm on 29 January 2014

The lesbian daughter of a Hong Kong tycoon, who offered more than $US100 million to find her a male suitor, has issued a heartfelt open letter urging him to accept her sexuality.

In the letter, which starts "Dear Daddy", socialite Gigi Chao asked her father Cecil to treat her partner Sean Eav as "a normal, dignified human being" - the couple have been together for nine years and are reported to have married in France in 2012.

Gigi Chao, right, with partner Sean Eav.

Gigi Chao, right, with partner Sean Eav. Photo: AFP / Apple Daily

"I know it's difficult for you to understand how I could feel romantically attracted to a woman; I suppose I can't really explain it either. It just happens, peacefully and gently," she wrote in the letter, published in the South China Morning Post on Wednesday and circulated to other Hong Kong media.

Her plea came after property developer Mr Chao, 77, who refuses to recognise that she is a lesbian, was reported last week to have doubled the "marriage bounty" on his daughter, AFP reports.

An initial offer of more than $50 million two years ago attracted 20,000 candidates, with the bizarre dowry attempt making international headlines.

In her letter, 33-year-old Gigi said that she forgave her father because he was acting in her best interests and took responsibility for "misleading" him into thinking there might be other options for her.

"I'm sorry to mislead you to think I was only in a lesbian relationship because there was a shortage of good, suitable men in Hong Kong. There are plenty of good men. They are just not for me."

In a plaintive message to her father she told him of her sadness that he was unable to share in the life she had made for herself.

Mr Chao, who owns publicly listed property developer Cheuk Nang, is a fixture of Hong Kong high society and regularly appears at public events with his latest young girlfriend. He reportedly once claimed to have slept with 10,000 women.