Alvin Chau Cheok Wa (pictured), the boss of Macau casino junket brand Suncity Group, has issued a statement refuting rumours in social media chats that the brand was being investigated by the mainland authorities due to alleged links to Hong Kong protest sympathisers.
The information circulating in online social media had also suggested some people were withdrawing capital lodged with the Suncity brand. Suncity, in common with other parts of the casino industry, has been roiled recently by a steep drop in business linked to the decline of travel and tourism during the Covid-19 crisis.
The statement additionally took the step of saying the junket brand had HKD10.58 billion (US$1.36 billion) in fiscal reserve.
In the refutation of the rumours – also issued in the form of a video featuring Mr Chau – the brand said the “late rumours about ‘Suncity Group subsidising Hong Kong rioters’ are extremely absurd and unreasonable”.
The brand added that Suncity would never support any actions that might “jeopardise the country”; understood to be a reference to concerns on the mainland that the Hong Kong protestors had a secessionist element within their ranks.
Mr Chau also addressed claims that the mainland authorities had obtained information about the group’s customers.
“The group has never received any request from overseas or mainland China demanding customer information,” said the executive. “Suncity VIP Club has never encountered any leakage of customer information,” he noted.
Mr Chau said Suncity was “undeniably financially robust,” and he disclosed the group’s current financial situation in the video. “Suncity VIP Club recognised a total amount of fiscal reserve of HKD10.58 billion, the total amount of cash flows in cage to be used in the daily operation of the VIP Club is HKD18.6 billion, plus a total deposit of HKD16.5 billion in two Macau banks.”
The statement further noted: “The group’s total assets can absolutely be used to offset all chip deposits of all clients, foreseeable losses and bad debts.”
Suncity Group, usually regarded by investment analysts as the largest-single Macau junket operator by rolling chip volume, said in a statement in late May it had recorded a loss from February to May this year.
In July last year, Mr Chau issued an apology to the Macau government for causing it “inconvenience” – along with a denial the brand had been involved with “online gaming” – after allegations to that effect in state-controlled media on the mainland.
A Hong Kong-listed entity controlled by Mr Chau – Suncity Group Holdings Ltd – also has interests in casino projects in Vietnam, Russia and the Philippines.
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Macau’s total VIP gross gaming revenue in the first quarter of 2021