A group of 15 defendants was sentenced on Friday by a Beijing court over gambling-related crimes, according to an announcement from the tribunal in the Chinese capital. Among them was a woman who briefly served in 2020 as an executive director of Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd, a company linked with a casino project on Saipan, a U.S.-administered Pacific island.
The No.1 Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing Municipality said Cui Limei was given eight years and six months in prison, plus a CNY200,000 (US$27,968) fine, for the crime of “establishment of casino”. The other 14 defendants got prison terms ranging from one year and eight months, to seven years and six months, over crimes including the establishment of casino, “collection of illegal debt” and “organising people to illegally cross the national borders”.
Cui Limei had been an executive director at Imperial Pacific International Holdings from June 15, 2020 to June 29, 2020, according to corporate filings with the Hong Kong bourse.
The company used to promote a casino resort known as Imperial Palace Saipan. The property’s gaming licence has been suspended since April 2021.
According to several Chinese-language media reports, Cui Limei is a sibling of a businesswoman called Cui Lijie. The latter resigned as Imperial Pacific International Holdings’ chairperson and executive director, with effect from June 4, 2021.
The company – which has been suspended from trading on the Hong Kong bourse since April 1, 2022 – is now facing hearings in relation to two winding up petitions, both scheduled for January 2024. That is according to a November 22 filing by the firm.
The Beijing court’s announcement did not mention to which jurisdictions outside China the relevant defendants had channelled players.
The court only noted that Cui Limei and other defendants in the case – led by an individual surnamed “Ji” – had exploited “illicit profits” in the period “2008 to 2021”, when they allegedly “organised and solicited” Chinese citizens from Beijing and provincial cities to “gamble abroad”, along with allegedly committing other crimes including “illegal entry into residences” and collection of illegal debt.
The individual surnamed “Ji” mentioned in the Friday announcement was “being processed in another case”, the Beijing court statement mentioned.
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