A senior official from the Macau police has for the first time commented publicly on the possibility that one of the city’s junket investors – who made headlines around the world when he allegedly absconded with HKD10 billion (US$1.3 billion) in VIP gambling funds in April 2014 – could be in Vietnam.
Chau Wai Kuong, director of Macau’s Judiciary Police, said he was aware of reports that the alleged fugitive, Huang Shan, might be in Vietnam. He said so in comments to Macau media.
Mr Chau, who heads the branch of the local police tasked with assisting the city’s courts in gathering evidence for prosecutions, said his service was monitoring events relating to Mr Huang.
The reports cited the official saying his office would continue to stay in close contact with the Macau gaming regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, to follow up on the case. The police were also in contact with the International Criminal Police Organization – also known as Interpol – about the whereabouts of Mr Huang, Mr Chau added.
On November 10, Interpol – an intergovernmental agency facilitating international police cooperation, including assistance on extradition cases – elected Meng Hongwei, China’s vice minister of public security, as president of the body. He was reported to be the first Chinese official to hold the post.
The Macau Gaming Information Association – a junket sector trade body that seeks to share intelligence among junkets regarding junket debtors and suspected con artists – had said previously, in unconfirmed reports it first shared in October on social media, that it had traced Mr Huang to Vietnam. It added association representatives had met him, and had talks about the possibility he might return the missing money.
The industry group also posted several photographs said to be of Mr Huang. One showed a person sitting on a sofa dressed in a white T-shirt, and holding up a message in Chinese indicating that creditors would be able to contact him.
The association had also reported on social media that Mr Huang was in the Ha Long Bay area in Vietnam, where it said he was pursuing a gaming project, and planned to repay investors from money he planned to make from that.
In his comments to the media, Macau’s Judiciary Police boss Mr Chau said that procedures for Macau to present a formal request to Vietnam for the transfer of Mr Huang could be complex.
Macau – as a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China and with its own legal system – does not currently have special extradition arrangements with Vietnam, nor can it make use of the PRC’s extradition treaties.
Macau’s Judiciary Police have previously offered little comment on the Huang Shan saga.
In May, Tony Tong, vice chairman of the Macau Gaming Information Association, told GGRAsia that Mr Huang had been one of the principals of a Macau junket called Kimren, and had allegedly accepted a lot of under-the-table bets – i.e. ones not declared to the Macau authorities and therefore not subject to the city’s effective 39 percent tax rate on casino gambling – and also a large amount of cash deposits from would-be investors in junket operations, before absconding with as much as HKD10 billion.
Since that incident, several others linked to reportedly multimillion losses – in U.S. dollar terms – of money at Macau junkets have come to light. One, revealed in September last year, involved Dore Entertainment Co Ltd, which had some VIP operations at the Wynn Macau casino hotel. Another, reported in January, allegedly involved Le Royal Arc, the casino in the L’Arc casino hotel on Macau peninsula that operates gaming under the licence of SJM Holdings Ltd.
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