SINGAPORE - Celebrity hairstylist David Gan has built a reputation over the years as someone who is extremely generous towards his circle of famous friends.
So when TV hosts Ben Yeo and Quan Yifeng posted pictures online of themselves carrying Hermes Birkin bags worth over $100,000 each and thanking Gan for the "big presents" a few days ago, netizens assumed that Gan was playing Santa to the stars again.
In his photo on Instagram, Yeo, 36, wrote: "(David Gan) Thank you so much for this crazy present", before asking his followers to guess how much the bag costs.
He later revealed it to be $125,000 to the envy of many online users, who left comments such as "Wah!!!", "I also want!!!" and "Very generous of him (Gan)".
But when contacted, Gan, who also posted the same picture on Instagram, clarified that it was just a joke.
The candid Malaysia-born star crimper, who is in his 50s, told The New Paper over the phone in Mandarin: "They came to my house to film a variety programme and posed with my bags for fun. The bags belong to me."
He added matter-of-factly: "If they want the bags, they can tell me. I will give them when I die."
The two bags in question are a red crocodile 50cm Hermes Birkin and a black crocodile 50cm Hermes Birkin, which Gan said cost $135,000 and $125,000, respectively.
A check online shows that similar Birkin bags can fetch between $100,000 and $200,000.
Gan revealed that both bags were gifts from his Chinese multimillionaire employer Yuan Yuan, 35, for whom he is hairstylist and personal shopper.
He has been working in Beijing for Ms Yuan, who has a mining business and also deals in property and investments, since August 2013.
Gan, who has a collection of branded bags estimated to be worth $1 million, said most of his Hermes bags were presents from his customers and boss over the past 10 years.
He declined to reveal how many Hermes bags are in his collection as he thinks it will "create unnecessary fodder for gossip".
Gan occasionally posts pictures of his branded bags on his personal Instagram account.
Last year, he uploaded a photo of his crocodile Hermes Birkin filled to the brim with stacks of yuan. It created a stir as some netizens accused him of showing off, which led to a war of words online.