A senior Philippine lawmaker has warned that the chairman of Resorts World Manila’s operator risks a warrant being issued for his arrest if he fails to appear before a House of Representatives enquiry into a deadly attack at the casino venue on June 2 that left at least 36 people dead.
Representative Rodolfo Fariñas, the House majority leader, said on Wednesday at a multi-committee hearing into the incident, that David Chua Ming Huat, chairman of Travellers International Hotel Group Inc, had sent a letter to the enquiry saying he would not be able to attend because he was out of the country.
Mr Fariñas’ response was to move a subpoena be issued for Mr Chua to appear, which was agreed by other lawmakers.
“If he doesn’t appear, it’s up to him. What comes after is a warrant of arrest,” Mr Fariñas said, as quoted by the Philippine Inquirer newspaper.
Kingson Sian, president and chief executive of Travellers International, was quoted in media reports saying Mr Chua lived in Hong Kong and was not a Filipino citizen. He had recently visited the Philippines to meet relatives of the dead and injured, but had left the country on June 11.
Travellers International – a venture between local conglomerate Alliance Global Group Inc and casino cruise specialist Genting Hong Kong Ltd – confirmed in a Tuesday filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange that its gaming permit for Resorts World Manila (pictured) had been suspended “pending investigation and final determination by Pagcor [the casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp] of the company’s alleged liability for the June 2, 2017 robbery/arson incident”.
It had been reported on June 2 by the Philippine media, quoting police sources, that the perpetrator of the deadly attack – Jessie Javier Carlos, who was later found dead on the premises – had attempted to steal gambling chips before setting fires on gambling tables in the main gaming floor at Resorts World Manila. Police later described the perpetrator as a problem gambler who had been previously barred from entering licensed gaming venues.
On Wednesday, Travellers International said some non-gaming entertainment areas of the property were likely to resume operations on Thursday (June 15).
It was also reported by local media that at Wednesday’s hearing, Representative Fariñas criticised the performance of the police at the scene of the June 2 incident, suggesting they failed to hold people evacuating from the casino for questioning, depriving response teams of intelligence information that they could have used in the response.
It was also reported that Stephen Reilly, Resorts World Manila’s chief operating officer, had said that because of technical reasons it would be 33 days before all relevant security camera footage could be made available for scrutiny.
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