Business & Economy

Luxury handbags, the bane of fugitive Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau

By Mar Sanchez Cascado

Hong Kong, Feb 13 (EFE).- Fugitive Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau has amassed a collection of more than 1,500 Hermes-brand luxury bags over the past two decades, including coveted rarities such as a metallic Kelly model in bronze or various Kelly with diamonds.

The extravagant selection, assembled by Lau over the past two decades, contains limited-edition pieces, such as an extremely rare bronze-metallic Hermes Kelly bag or six other Hermes Birkins diamonds of different colors and sizes.

“The collection of bags that Joseph Lau has selected and assembled is truly visionary. The limited edition pieces that have shaped the history of bags in the last two decades are all present in this collection,” Sotheby auction house’s handbags and accessories Manager Morgane Halimi said in a statement.

The first of the bids at the house concluded Thursday and was the largest sale of bags from a single owner in the Asian market, with a total collection of HKD 25 million ($3.2 million.)

The figure reached is 54.66 percent higher than the total amount estimated in advance by the organizing company.

Among the items awarded, the most expensive model was a 2006 Hermes Birkin 25 Bleu Jean Shiny Porosus Crocodile bag, with 18K white gold and diamond hardware, which sold for HKD1.52 million.

Joseph Lau is the former chairman of property developer Chinese Estates, most of which he acquired in 1986, although his current wealth comes from real estate in the former British colony.

An avid art collector, his fortune also includes works by Andy Warhol, Paul Gauguin and David Hockney, valued at at least $ 1 billion.

The tycoon is known for investing in collectibles such as works of art and jewelry: in 2015, he spent about $ 76.9 million in two days to buy two rare diamonds for his seven-year-old daughter.

Six years ago he acquired Warhol’s emblematic serigraphed portrait of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong for $17.4 million and a year later he paid $39.2 million for the painting “Te Poipoi,” from 1892, by Paul Gauguin.

Lau resigned from his posts as CEO and Chairman of Chinese Estate after being convicted of bribery and fraud in Macau in 2014, for paying $2.6 million to a former public works official in an agreement in exchange for land.

As the former Portuguese colony does not have an extradition treaty with Hong Kong, he has not served his sentence of five years and three months in prison.

The Lau family company calculates it lost $ 1 million in 2021 after selling the majority of its shares in China Evergrande, the second largest real estate developer in the country, which began to have problems coping with the payments on its debt. EFE


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