A number of prominent Macau locals spoke in court on Wednesday as character witnesses for Levo Chan Weng Lin, once boss of former Macau junket business Tak Chun Group.
Mr Chan and eight other defendants are on trial at the city’s Court of First Instance (pictured), charged with crimes including being a member of an illegal criminal organisation, illicit gambling operations, defrauding the Macau Special Administrative Region government and the casino concessionaires, and money laundering.
António José de Freitas, president of the board of trustees at major local charity Macau Holy House of Mercy, described Mr Chan as a “very low profile” and “polite” person. He noted that an entity he said was founded and chaired by Mr Chan – Tak Chun Charity Association – had supported Macau Holy House of Mercy for many years. Mr Chan’s charitable body had also participated in several education-focused aid programmes in mainland China, added Mr Freitas.
Lok Hei, the president of a Macau arts association, described Mr Chan as a “friend” who had been “very supportive” of arts and cultural activities in the city. Mr Lok added that Mr Chan’s Tak Chun charity organisation had helped fund local artists’ work spaces for years.
Macau businessman Vong Kok Seng, also attending court to speak in support of Mr Chan, described the former junket boss as “philanthropic”. Mr Vong was speaking as the president of a major local fundraiser, the ‘Charity Fund from the Readers of Macao Daily News’, which is linked to a prominent and popular Chinese-language newspaper in the city.
Tak Chun Charity Association had since 2015 made donations to the newspaper-backed “Walk for a Million”, an annual fundraising event. The donations from Mr Chan’s side had continued even during the height of the pandemic-related downturn to the local economy in 2020 and 2021, said character witness Mr Vong.
Mr Chan was detained by Macau police in January 2022. He has been in custody since, with his trial starting in early December last year.
On Monday this week, the court heard prosecution evidence about wiretaps said to indicate Mr Chan authorised so-called ‘multiplier bets’ in Macau. On Tuesday evidence was presented concerning wager settlement in Macau relating to so-called ‘proxy betting’ online, said to have taken place offshore.
The trial continues.
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"We [estimate] that these illegal [currency exchange] transactions account for somewhere between 50 percent to 60 percent [of Macau's annual gross gaming revenue]”
Managing partner at IGamiX Management and Consulting