A Friday session at Macau’s Court of First Instance heard three former gambling patrons of ex-junket operator Suncity Group claim it was linked to proxy betting activities hosted in the Philippines.
The three male patrons – Iam Dong Hou, Ng Chi Seng, and Song Ka Fai – respectively told prosecutor Lai U Hou they once had VIP gambling accounts with Suncity Group.
The men said they had made wagers from Macau – using either a mobile phone application or voice call – on live baccarat games hosted at a gaming venue in Cagayan in the Philippines: i.e., they had taken part in proxy betting. The venue was not named in court.
Financial settlement on those proxy bets was respectively via the patrons’ respective Suncity Group accounts, and their own bank accounts in mainland China, the three male witnesses said.
Mr Iam, who told the court that he had been engaged in proxy play a “long time ago”, said he could not recall the name of the mobile phone application.
Fellow witness Mr Ng, who said he had made proxy bets “around 2018”, identified the application by the name “universal e-city”, and told the prosecutor that he understood the application “should” to his recollection, “be Suncity’s”.
The other male witness, Mr Song, said he had taken part in proxy betting “one or two years ago”, and recalled the name of the proxy betting application had undergone several changes. The name of the proxy bet application had – at an unspecified time – changed from “SCM”, to “an English name that contained ‘UE’ in it”, Mr Song said.
Macau’s Public Prosecutions Office has indicted former Suncity Group boss Alvin Chau Cheok Wa and 20 other people for illegal gaming, criminal association, fraud, and money laundering, for the purposes of the ongoing trial.
Mr Chau, a key defendant in the case, had last week denied being involved in any form of online betting business. He said that Suncity Group stopped running on behalf of clients, proxy betting services via Macau, after the city’s regulator issued an instruction in 2016 against such activity. He said the group subsequently shifted such services to overseas markets, including the Philippines.
Mr Chau had stated also last week that Suncity Group had ceased running proxy betting services via the Philippines in 2019, and had subsequently “transferred” such operations to an individual named “Richard Ieong”. After such transfer, the proxy betting business was named “UE”.
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