Macao arrests 11 people alleging illegal gambling and money laundering

Macao arrests 11 people alleging illegal gambling and money laundering

November 30, 2021: -On Sunday, Macao police said they had arrested 11 people in an investigation into an illegal gambling and money-laundering syndicate, a day after businessman Alvin Chau, organizing trips to Asian casinos for big-spending gamblers, was questioned at a police station.

The police said that people involved acknowledged the group had operated gambling websites or telemarketing activities in different places.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported that Macao’s judiciary police did not name the individuals at a news conference on Sunday but said they included a 47-year-old Macao businessman surnamed Chau.

It was not clear if this was Alvin Chau, who is chairman of Suncity Group Holdings. He is the founder of a separate legal entity called Suncity, the particular administrative region’s most prominent “junket operator,” which runs VIP gambling rooms across Asia.

Junket operators are go-betweens bringing high rollers to play at casinos, extending them credit and collecting their debts. Macao is known as the Las Vegas of Asia and has grown rich from the gambling industry.

The Suncity junket operator could not be reached for comment. On Friday, Wenzhou’s eastern Chinese city authorities said that an investigation had found Alvin Chau formed a junket agent network in the mainland ping where citizens engage in offshore and cross-border gambling activities.

On Saturday, the Macao government said he was taken to the police station for questioning, based on the evidence, and after receiving a notification about the arrest warrant from the mainland authorities.

GGRAsia, a news outlet on the Asia casino industry, quoting a Suncity spokesperson, says that by email early on Saturday, “All businesses are normally operating following the law and under the supervision of the Macau Special Administrative Region Government.”

Chau is the controlling shareholder of Sun Entertainment Group, a film production, and cremation services firm. In a Sunday exchange filing, its board had noted the news coverage about the investigations in Wenzhou and Macao.

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