a man wearing a suit and tie: Hong Leong Oei at 72 is active making deals and fighting court battles over a piece of property he bought in Vancouver in 1989 as a long-term investment. The Plaza of Nations Land is now valued upwards of $600-million.


© Yvette Brend/CBC Information
Hong Leong Oei at 72 is energetic earning deals and fighting court docket battles above a piece of house he bought in Vancouver in 1989 as a prolonged-term expenditure. The Plaza of Nations Land is now valued upwards of $600-million.

Singapore-dependent billionaire Hong Leong Oei states a latest court purchase awarding him thousands and thousands of pounds sends a information about the hazards of giving misleading testimony in B.C. courts — and for him, that’s really worth more than the money.

If he ever collects the $5-million award, he ideas to donate it to front-line clinical staff combating COVID-19.

It marks the most up-to-date round in a battle in between tycoons more than the enhancement of a prime Vancouver waterfront assets: the Plaza of Nations web page on Pacific Boulevard.

“When I bought this land I did not hope Vancouver to build like nowadays. So for me this is a surprise. I purchased it fairly inexpensive and for an investment for my retirement,” claimed Oei, in an interview from Singapore Wednesday night.

Oei bought the web-site 31 many years back for a handshake and $40 million. In 2015, he nearly marketed it to the developer Harmony Pacific, but the offer soured.



a group of people on a boat in the water: The plan to redevelop the Plaza of Nations property includes living space and a public sea walk, daycare and ice rink.


© Structure James Cheng Architects/Rendering Paul Nowarre for Canadian Metropolitan Houses Corp.
The approach to redevelop the Plaza of Nations home contains living room and a general public sea walk, daycare and ice rink.

Concord Pacific Acquisitions Inc. later sued Oei and his firms for allegedly performing in undesirable religion and breaching an arrangement to provide the 4.16-hectare site. Because then he and Harmony president and CEO Terry Hui have been locked in a lawful dying grip.

“I will never give up — we are preventing for the principle,” reported Oei.

Concord alleged that Oei signed a “binding” offer. In July 2019, B.C. Supreme Court docket Justice Peter Voith dismissed that assert. In March 2020, Oei and his businesses — Hong Kong Expo Holdings Ltd. and Canadian Metropolitan Properties Corp., filed a civil declare in opposition to Harmony Pacific, Hui and some others — saying abuse of the lawful process — in search of $245-million.

That match alleged a “conspiracy” to tie up the worthwhile downtown property in litigation to hamper efforts to acquire it.

In a final decision dated Jan. 29, Justice Voith purchased Concord Pacific, the plaintiff in the first civil accommodate, to shell out expenditures to Oei because of the “egregious dishonesty” of one particular of their witness.

The scarce specific costs award is a single of the optimum in B.C. and sends a distinct message that courts will not tolerate remaining misled with false claims.

But it will only be paid out out if an enchantment of the original case is dismissed.

Justice Voith observed in his get that Concord’s vice-president David Ju experienced “misled” the court. Concord programs to appeal the rulings it suggests are “flawed.”

Oei said he has not observed the grounds of the enchantment still, but he is not fearful.

At 72, he suggests he follows the small business philosophy of his father who fell into personal debt in Indonesia in the 1940s and experienced to sell his wife’s wedding day ring to spend it off.



a large body of water with a city in the background: The plan to develop the 10-acre Plaza of Nations site involves a 30-storey terraced building.


© Design and style James Cheng Architects/Rendering Paul Nowarre for Canadian Metropolitan Properties Corp.
The plan to produce the 10-acre Plaza of Nations web-site will involve a 30-storey terraced developing.

Oei was despatched to China at 12 and finished up section of the Purple Guards — a mass student-led paramilitary motion — throughout the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the ’60s.

He later rose in his father’s corporation which experienced come to be successful.

By 1991, the Indonesian-born gentleman moved to Hong Kong and finished up at the helm of a company that became China Strategic Holdings Ltd., the place he privatized hundreds of former point out factories.



a large building: Architect James Cheng helps shepherd the Plaza of Nations redevelopment plan through the City of Vancouver's process. The owner hopes to begin building by 2021.


© Style and design James Cheng Architects/Rendering Paul Nowarre for Canadian Metropolitan Homes Corp.
Architect James Cheng helps shepherd the Plaza of Nations redevelopment program via the Town of Vancouver’s method. The owner hopes to get started developing by 2021.

In his 30s, he arrived to Vancouver on a check out and mentioned that he “fell in enjoy” with the town.

“I occur to Canada … I come to feel at dwelling,” said Oei.

In November 1989, he bought a gated mansion at 2170 South West Maritime Dr. from billionaire Joseph Segal — together with all its antiques and contents — right after a extended philosophical dialogue about scotch.

He also purchased a little island off the coast of B.C.

That identical calendar year he fulfilled up with a single of Asia’s most influential businessmen, Li Ka-shing.

The Hong Kong tycoon experienced purchased the Expo ’86 lands for $320 million and sold Oei a portion: the Plaza of Nations parcel for $40 million.

“I acquired the land from Mr. Li Ka Shing. 5 minutes. Handshake. Done offer,” claimed Oei.

Oei stated he was surprised his lengthy-time period gamble appreciated to a worth of far more than $600-million due to the fact then. He often will get gives, but suggests he is careful now.

In the meantime, architect James Cheng’s style and design prepare is shifting toward last approval with a new architect, Walter Francl, now portion of the crew.

If approved, there will be a daycare, a concert corridor, an outdoor plaza, an ice rink and a sea wander. He hopes development can start out this 12 months.

While Oei describes the Vancouver progress system as “inefficient, bureaucratic and slow” by Singaporean requirements, he suggests he enjoys the town, and he hopes to depart an legendary mark at its coronary heart.

“The most significant cash is integrity. With integrity people today rely on you.”