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Bruce Lee ‘Destroyed’ HK$200,000 Check Received as a Gift Once

Published 03/23/2023, 2:56 AM EDT

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Bruce Lee  rose to fame in Hong Kong after the success of his film The Big Boss in 1971. Although Lee enjoyed great deal of attention in the media, he wasn’t immune to whatever lurked on the darker side of being a popular figure. Since Sensei became a famous personality in Hong Kong, people began invading his private life. Things became extreme when Lee received a random HK$200,000 cheque as a gift. 

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Lee’s biography, Bruce Lee: A Life by Matthew Polly, revealed the time when he lived in Hong Kong with his family in the 1970s. It has become a common occurrence that Lee was stalked by fans. However, in certain instances, he experienced suspicious activities that raised great concerns about the safety of his family. 

Bruce Lee found it difficult to burn the HK$200,000 cheque


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Lee’s life was not without strife even after he became a superstar. In fact, two of Lee’s friends were killed by the Mason gang, while in one instance, a random person sneaked into Lee’s home to fight with him. These events terrified Lee about the safety of his family. During that time, Hong Kong’s organized crime groups also known as triads had not completely come into being. However, Lee was attentive to the fishy activities happening with him. 

Lee’s biography revealed an interview with Fighting Stars (an American martial art magazine) in which the Sensei opened up about receiving a HK$200,000 cheque. The master stated that after Fist of Fury became a hit, random people stopped by his door to pass him a HK$200,000 cheque. When Lee asked them what was it for, the men told him to keep it as a gift. He expressed, “I didn’t even know these people, they were strangers to me.” 


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He further revealed that he did not know what to do with the money gifted to him. Therefore, Lee destroyed all the cheques. He stated in the interview, “it was difficult to do because I didn’t know what they were for.”

Despite Security Threats, Bruce Lee’s Iconic Fight Against Chuck Norris in the Colosseum Achieved an Insane Record

After this incident, Lee took measures to ensure security around himself. 

Bruce Lee began carrying weapons for protection


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Previously, Bruce Lee had increased security for his kids. However, after receiving the cheque he became super conscious about his safety. Surprisingly, the world’s most famous evangelist of unarmed combat began carrying weapons for his protection. 

Lee began wearing a hidden belt buckle knife and also carried a gun. The master’s friend and student James Coburn, revealed in the biography that Lee had a shield around him for nearly twelve feet. Anybody who came near him would become a suspect and they had to watch out for themselves. 


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Watch This Story: Relive the Iconic on-Screen Fights of the GOAT Bruce Lee From His Movie Collection

Indeed, becoming famous comes with its share of setbacks. The same was true for martial artist Bruce Lee.

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Written by:

Muskan Sharma


One take at a time

Muskan Sharma is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Calcutta. Muskan has worked as a writer for 3+ years but has a knack for filmmaking, too.
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Edited by:

Jahnabi Choudhury