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NY homeless angry at China tycoon 'publicity stunt'

Published on Jun 26, 2014 6:55 AM

NEW YORK (AFP) - A three-course lunch hosted by an eccentric Chinese millionaire for 250 homeless New Yorkers in a posh restaurant degenerated into fury on Wednesday when guests were denied US$300 (S$375) cash handouts.

It had seemed such a good idea. Recycling tycoon Chen Guangbiao last week took out ads in American newspapers promising a first-rate meal at the Boathouse in Central Park and US$300 each.

Guests were bused in and treated to a sit-down meal of seared tuna, filet mignon and seasonal berries, waited on by staff in suits and bow ties, but anger flared over the cash no-show. As Chen spoke to a gaggle of Chinese journalists while dessert was being served, one guest started shouting.

“Don’t lie to the people!” Ernest St Pierre told AFP. “We came here for US$300 but now he’s changed his tune.” Chen announced through a translator that he was heading to the New York City Rescue Mission – which helped organise the lunch – and invited guests to join him there.

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