Mercenary ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare dies aged 100 in South Africa

Nicknamed ‘Mad Mike,’ Hoare, left, died on Sunday in South Africa where he had retired. (Getty Images)
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Updated 03 February 2020

Mercenary ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare dies aged 100 in South Africa

  • Hoare shot to fame in the 1960s when he led some 300 soldiers in the DRC to crush a communist-inspired rebel uprising
  • In 1981, Hoare led a group of mercenaries that planned a coup to return to power the pro-Western founding president James Mancham in the Seychelles

JOHANNESBURG: One of Africa’s best-known mercenaries who fought in the Democratic Republic of Congo and led a failed coup in the Seychelles, Mike Hoare, has died aged 100, the family said on Monday.
Nicknamed “Mad Mike,” Hoare died on Sunday in South Africa where he had retired.
Born 1919 in India to Irish parents, he was educated in England where he qualified as a chartered accountant.
He attended a small-arms and an officer training course in the British army during WWII and went on to serve in India and in Burma.
The fervent anti-communist then emigrated to South Africa in 1948.
“The well known adventurer and soldier of fortune, Lt Col ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare, died in his sleep and with dignity aged 100 years at a care facility in Durban on 2 February 2020,” the family said in a statement.
His son Chris, said Hoare “lived by the philosophy that you get more out of life by living dangerously, so it is all the more remarkable that he lived more than 100 years.”
Hoare shot to fame in the 1960s when he led some 300 soldiers in the DRC to crush a communist-inspired rebel uprising.
His soldiers’ nickname “Wild Geese,” inspired the title of a 1978 film about mercenaries in Africa which starred Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris and Hardy Kruger.
In 1981, Hoare led a group of mercenaries that planned a coup to return to power the pro-Western founding president James Mancham in the Seychelles archipelago.
The group entered the country disguised as a beer-drinking tourist party called “The Ancient Order of Froth-Blowers.”
However, their plan came undone when an airport inspector found a weapon in their luggage and a gunfight broke out.
The men then hijacked an Air India flight and forced the pilot to take them to Durban in South Africa to escape.
Hoare was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 20 years.
But he only served nearly three years in jail before he relocated to France where he lived for 20 years.
Hoare returned to South Africa in 2009.
Hoare is survived by five children.
His peers from the heyday of mercenaries in Africa include the likes of Frenchman Bob Denard and his “affreux” (“the frightful ones“) and Belgian “Black Jack” Schramme.


Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

Updated 12 July 2020

Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

  • Exercise being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory

HONG KONG: Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers turned up over the weekend to vote in an unofficial two-day primary election held by the city’s pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming legislative poll.
The exercise is being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping away at the “one country, two systems” framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. It was passed in response to last year’s massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability.
Throngs of people lined up at polling booths in the summer heat to cast their vote despite a warning by Hong Kong’s constitutional affairs minister, Eric Tsang last week that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security law, because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local government.
Organizers have dismissed the comments, saying they just want to hold the government accountable by gaining a majority in the legislature.
The legislation prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order Internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.
On Friday, police raided the office of the Public Opinion Research Institute, a co-organizer of the primary elections. The computer system was suspected of being hacked, causing a data leak, police said in a statement, and an investigation is ongoing.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, which includes multiple parties, is attempting to join forces and use the primaries as a guide to field the best candidates in the official legislative election in September. Its goal is to win a majority in the legislature, which is typically skewed toward the pro-Beijing camp.
To hold the primary elections, pro-democracy activists had raised money via crowd funding. They pledged to veto the government’s budget if they clinch a majority in the legislature. Under the Basic Law, under which Hong Kong is governed, city leader Carrie Lam must resign if an important bill such as the budget is vetoed twice.
On Saturday alone, nearly 230,000 people voted at polling booths set up across the city, exceeding organizers’ estimates of a 170,000 turnout over the weekend.