Thursday, October 17, 2019

Billionaire Hoang Kieu and Pride of San Jose First Recipient

Billionaire Hoang Kieu is well known for his flamboyance and his generosity in the Vietnamese-American community.   He donated $10 million total to flood victims in San Jose and Houston.  He gave over half a million dollars to fire victims in Northern California.

Hoang Kieu, a self-made Vietnamese-American billionaire who came to America in 1975 with nothing  but determination and hope.  He made his fortune in a company he founded called RAAS which focuses on providing blood plasma.  The 81 years old (as he declared his real age at a gala in San Jose 2 years ago) eccentric billionaire, now has diversified into wine, high-end restaurant and event catering, cosmetics, luxury handbags and nutritional supplements.  And just to have some fun, he even has his own musical show production.  

Recently, he became the first recipient of Pride of San Jose award given out by  San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.  There is now a street named after him in San Jose.

But in Southern California where he lives, it is a different story.  HK is embroiled in a recall effort of three city councilmembers of Westminster, a city where almost 45% of the voters are Vietnamese-Americans.   There are 4 Vietnamese-American city councilmembers, out of five, in Westminster.  HK is personally funding the recall effort just because these three councilmembers slighted him last year.  He is angry because they did not cooperate with him in his extravagant funeral arrangement for Ly Tong, a folk hero to the anti-communist crowd for his hijacking of a passenger plane in Vietnam in 1992 to drop anti-government leaflets.  He paid the funeral expense at the cost of $400,000.  

He claims to spend over $500,000 to help a recall group, Westminster United, to get 8,700 signatures required for recall.   He hires a political consultant responsible for the recall of former Governor Al Davis to help with strategy.  Almost every week for the last 3 months, he is on radio and Youtube live to make his case for the recalling of Mayor Tri Ta, Vice Mayor Kimberly Ho and councilmember Charlie Nguyen.

Running out of things to say, he recently dressed up as a king and demanded the castration of elected officials so that they can become his eunuchs.  Suddenly, he realized that Kimberly Ho is a woman, he laughed and said, "It does not matter, she is already an eunuch."

Just this week, he went overboard and declared he will castrate and break the teeth of Luong Ngo, a community activist opposing the recall.  Ngo promptly filed a complain with the FCC and the Garden Grove police.

In the Youtube video, he also disclosed that he is being  forced out of Shanghai RAAS, the company he co-founded over 27 years ago and the main source of his wealth.  They offer him a buyout of $380 million.   

HK was worth $3.8 billion in 2015 according Forbes based on the market value of Shanghai RAAS of $17.7 billion at that time.   He blames that people opposing the recall with their smear campaign against him cause this predicament of him being ousted.  He promises to sue them for his financial loss.   He claims to have file lawsuits against the city of Westminster and other members of the Vietnamese media.  

It is difficult to follow his rambling reasons on why and what, but he is certainly creating a buzz in community.  Also, when you are an octogenarian with hundreds of millions at your disposal, you can pretty much say and do whatever you want (within legal limit of course).

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