Pohnpei, FSM - A March 16, 2009 issue of Forbes magazine called Sir Eric Hotung, of Hong Kong a Hero of Philanthropy. Hotung, an extremely successful and wealthy businessman has had a lifetime of honors for his philanthropic endeavors and on April 8 at a reception held in his honor at South Park Hotel in Pohnpei he made what Governor John Ehsa called "Pohnpei history" when the Iso Nahnken of Nett, Salvador Iriarte bestowed on him the honorary title of Soupwei Peilapalap in advance of his actually having done anything in Pohnpei other than to make a visit.
Hotung arrived in Pohnpei for a high level visit on April 3. As an At-Large Ambassador of Timor-Leste Sir Hotung was given full diplomatic honors and spent a week touring the sites of Pohnpei by land, sea, and air.
The March article in Forbes said that in 1997 Hotung sold one of his many homes for $100.5 million in May of 1997 making it the most expensive home in the world at that time.
According to Pohnpei State Public Information Officer McGarry Miguel one of the stated purposes for Hotung's trip was to look into the possibility of building what he called a "five star hotel" in Lukop, Madolenihmw. When asked what plot of land Hotung was being offered Miguel said that it is public land in Madolenihmw and not private land. Any Memorandum of Understanding regarding land in Madolenihmw would be between Sir Hotung and the Pohnpei State Government, he said.
Miguel also said that Sir Hotung met with the Mwoalen Wahu, the traditional leaders, and told them that though he as a philanthropist is committed to assisting Pohnpei in any way that he can, Pohnpei simply does not have enough tourists yet to warrant the building of a hotel in Madolenihmw.
At the April 8 reception Hotung stood and addressed the gathered group of Pohnpei State Government officials and traditional leaders calling Pohnpei a paradise. He talked about the natural resources of Pohnpei including traditional medicine-holistic medicine he called it. He said that during his visit he had become inspired to be at the service of Pohnpei saying, "You can consider me your servant at large."
He closed by saying that he felt challenged to help Pohnpei and Pohnpeians to "show the world what this little place can do."