Suncity Group Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed firm controlled by detained casino junket boss Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, says it has “suspended the operations of its travel and related business segment for the time being.” The company also said that Mr Chau had tendered “his resignation from the posts of the chairman of the board and an executive director, with effect from 1 December 2021.”
The firm made the announcements on Wednesday evening, after its stock had been suspended from trading for the whole of that day, at the company’s request. Its stock resumed trading with effect from Thursday (December 2) at 9am.
Mr Chau is currently being held in pre-trial detention in Macau’s prison facility, under suspicion of membership of a criminal group, of organising illegal gambling for Chinese customers, and of money laundering, after being detained in Macau on Saturday. On Friday, the authorities in the mainland city of Wenzhou had separately approved an arrest warrant for him, on suspicion of promotion of “cross-border gambling” to Chinese consumers.
In Wednesday’s statement, Suncity Group Holdings said it had been informed by Sun City Gaming Promotion Co Ltd – identified as a key supplier of hotel accommodation products – that it “would not be able to supply hotel accommodation products” to the listed entity “in the near term.”
“In view of this and also taking into account the rapid outbreak of [a new] COVID-19 variant (omicron), the group has suspended the operations of its travel and related business segment for the time being,” stated Suncity Group Holdings.
According to the Hong Kong-listed company, revenue from sales of hotel accommodation products represented approximately 17.4 percent of the group’s total revenue from continuing operations in the six months to June 30, 2021.
Macau-licensed junket operator Sun City Gaming Promotion suspended its entire VIP gaming operations in Macau on Wednesday. It was not clear how many Suncity VIP rooms in Macau in total, had ceased operations that day, nor if the firm would suspend its operations in other markets in the Asia-Pacific region
Suncity Group Holdings has interests in several casino schemes around the Asia-Pacific region, but does not include the junket business. The Hong Kong-listed company had warned earlier this week that if it lost Mr Chau’s financial support “for whatever reason”, its “financial position, business, and operation” would be “adversely affected”.
A separate, Hong Kong-listed company, Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, said in its own Wednesday filing that Mr Chau also tendered “his resignation from the posts of the chairman of the board and a non-executive director with effect from 1 December 2021.”
Summit Ascent, controlled by Suncity Group Holdings, is the principal investor in a hotel and gaming business – known as Tigre de Cristal – in Primorye, in the Russian Federation.
Summit Ascent had said that Mr Chau did “not take part in carrying out day-to-day management and operations of the group,” prior to current events, due to his non-executive role.
The two Hong Kong-listed companies have seen the biggest plunge in their respective share price this week, following the arrest of Mr Chau.
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