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Palace of Gold Sold For Melt
By Jonathan Cheng

At $800 an ounce, the golden bathroom sink had to go. At $1,000, say goodbye to the golden horse-drawn chariot. But don’t even think about touching the golden toilet.

Global economic uncertainty over the past few years has pushed gold prices into the stratosphere, and few people have felt that rise as much as Hong Kong entrepreneur Lam Sai-wing has. He has spent the past decade constructing a palace of gold, decked out in six tons of the precious metal. In recent years, the palace has become an attraction mainland Chinese tour groups couldn’t miss, and a boon for Mr. Lam’s retail jewelry business, Hong Kong-listed Hang Fung Gold Technology.

Since gold prices hit four-digit territory earlier this year, Mr. Lam has been taking apart his hall of gold as quickly as he once raced to construct it. He is melting down golden chandeliers, armchairs and armored knights and selling gold by the ton to fuel growth plans that include hundreds of new retail outlets in mainland China. But even with the selloff, one thing is certain: The toilet stays.

“I don’t care if gold hits $10,000 an ounce,” Mr. Lam says. “I’m not melting it down.”

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