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Year of the Snake spells good luck for execs

SEOUL--Ancient Oriental wisdom says having a snake in the house is a good omen because it means the family will never starve.

The snake in this case indicates individuals born under the zodiac sign of the “snake,” and if the saying is anything to go by, it looks as though there are some snake-borns who most definitely won't be starving anytime soon.

Analyses of the local stock markets showed that there were some 456 billionaires in Korea who were born under the sign of the snake, according to Chaebul.com, a local web site devoted to corporate data.

And the myth goes on as the majority of these people turn 60 in the new year, a significant age for Koreans who place special meaning on the age, despite the fact people have long started to live past 60.

The wealthiest executive among those born in the Uear of the Snake in terms of the value of stock portfolios was Huh Jin-soo, vice chairman of GS Caltex, who owned some 305.4 billion won worth of stocks.

Huh is a member of the GS owner family and is the younger brother of Huh Chang-soo, chairman of GS Group.

Also in the group was Koo Cha-yol, chairman of LS Group, who owned 188.4 billion won worth of stocks.

Park Ji-won, vice chairman of Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, was born in 1965, another year of the snake, and is next in line with over 100 billion won.

On the other side of the age bracket, there were some lucky youngsters who had the privilege of joining the group of two dozen individuals who were in their teens or 20s.

They were mostly the offspring of business tycoons and founders, including the son of Heesung Electronics President Koo Bon-sik — brother of LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo and Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn's son.

Among those in their 30s, the Daesang Group honorary chairman's daughter was worth 47.1 billion won and the son of Huh Young-in was included in the billionaire club.

But young or old, most of the wealthy stockholders had one thing in common: they hailed from chaebol families.

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