Macao police are questioning Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, the founder and boss of Macao’s biggest junket company Sun City, who is wanted in the mainland for a string of alleged gambling-related offences. Chau was reportedly born in Macao in 1974 and is said to be one of Macao’s richest persons.
An official statement noted that the local government has been notified that the people’s prosecution office in the city of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, issued an arrest warrant for a suspect surnamed Chau for running illegal gambling operations in the mainland.
According to the government statement, which did not fully identify the person of interest nor his company, other people “involved” in the case were also being questioned by the local police.
The statement stressed that all those working in Macao’s gaming sector “must rigorously abide by the national and local laws,” adding that the Macao authorities are pursuing a “zero tolerance” approach towards suspected breaches of the law.
The statement also underlined that while the current law on junket operators is “relatively perfect”, future amendments to Macao’s gaming law would further strengthen the supervision of gaming operators and their activities.
According to the notification quoted by the statement, Chau’s operations in the mainland, which involved huge amounts of money, “caused severe damage to the social order of the country.”
The reports quoted the authorities in Wenzhou as saying on Friday that Chau had set up a junket network in the mainland to assist mainlanders in illegally joining offshore and cross-border gambling activities.
Allegedly, according to the Wenzhou Public Security Bureau, Chau’s network set up an asset management company in the mainland to enable gamblers to make cross-border remittances. The city’s prosecutors had urged Chau to surrender to the authorities as soon as possible if he wished to expect “leniency”.
Junket operators are intermediaries between high-rolling gamblers, extending them credit and reportedly also collecting their gambling debts. Junkets also run VIP gambling rooms on behalf of Macao’s casino operators. Junkets, which are licensed by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, reportedly employ, directly and indirectly, thousands of people in Macao. Macao’s top-selling newspaper, the Chinese-language Macao Daily News, published a photo of Chau on the front page of its print edition today.
Local gaming news outlet GGRAsia today quoted a Suncity spokesperson as saying that “all businesses are operating normally in accordance with the law and under the supervision of the Macao Special Administrative Region government.”
Meanwhile, Reuters pointed out in a report today that Suncity’s Hong Kong-listed company, Suncity Group Holdings Ltd (1383.HK), does not include its junket operations.