Billionaire David Ho pleads guilty to confining prostitute
Published Thursday, February 2, 2012 6:35PM PST
Vancouver billionaire David Ho has pleaded guilty to possessing an unlicensed firearm and forcibly confining a sex trade worker, who called police to his mansion in the middle of the night three years ago.
The 60-year-old, who founded the now-defunct Harmony Airways, entered his plea Thursday at Vancouver Provincial Court. Ho stood and made an apology to his victim, though the woman was not in court. The person he addressed was actually CTV reporter Lisa Rossington.
Justice Thomas Gove sentenced Ho to one year probation and issued him a $5,000 fine.
Crown prosecutors say the prominent businessman picked the sex worker up in Delta and took her home to smoke cocaine in December 2008. Ho told the court he stopped her from leaving because it was cold outside and he was worried about her health.
A struggle ensued, during which the woman fractured her ankle. She was able to call 911 from her cell phone at around 4:45 a.m. after calling her father to plead, "Dad, help me. I'm on a bad date."
Clad only in her underwear, the sex worker eventually escaped onto the street, scaled an eight-foot fence and ran to a neighbour's house. The entire incident was captured by security cameras inside Ho's home.
Police discovered an unregistered Glock 9-mm pistol during Ho's arrest. He was taken into custody and released on a $100,000 security.
The divorced father of three also pleaded guilty to breaching bail conditions after being caught carrying a switchblade at the Vancouver International Airport in February 2011. He claimed he forgot he was carrying it.
Another charge of cocaine possession was dropped as part of a plea agreement.
Ho operates several businesses in B.C.; shortly after immigrating to Vancouver in 1985, he purchased the University Golf Club and luxury car business MCL Motors.
Harmony Airways launched in 2002, but shut down five years later.