An intermediate court in Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province, mainland China, finished on Friday hearing three cases on illegal gambling alleged to have involved the boss of Macau-based junket brand Suncity. The hearings produced respective guilty pleas on gambling-related crimes from all 35 defendants. They will be sentenced later.
The information was disclosed on Friday evening via the official WeChat account of the People’s Procuratorate of Wenzhou city.
The cases – involving an allegedly “criminal group” led by Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, the founder of Suncity Group – were combined into one process, with hearings that began on Wednesday. The charges were linked to promotion of “cross-border gambling” activities to people in the mainland, via the Philippines and Macau.
According to the WeChat post by the People’s Procuratorate of Wenzhou city, the “criminal group” allegedly led by Mr Chau had developed a network with more than 60,000 agents, and had links to around 60,000 gamblers. It made used of online gaming platforms and underground banks to provide settlement services for gamblers.
Its activity had “posed serious disorder to society and the economy”, the post added.
Mr Chau – and other defendants linked to the now-defunct Macau casino junket Suncity Group – are set to go on trial in Macau, on separate charges, starting on September 2. That is according to the schedule published on the website of Macau’s Court of First Instance.
Macau’s Public Prosecutions Office has indicted Mr Chau for illegal gaming, criminal association, fraud, and money laundering. In total, 21 people have been indicted under the same criminal case in Macau.
The downfall of Mr Chau and the Suncity Group began in Wenzhou, when the People’s Procuratorate of that city announced in November 2021 it had “approved the arrest for suspect” Mr Chau, for having “seriously hampered the social order of our country,” via “cross-border” gambling operations involving Chinese customers, and concerning “huge” amounts of capital.
Shortly after, Mr Chau was detained in Macau on suspicion of facilitating illegal gambling overseas for Chinese customers. All of the junket brand’s VIP rooms in Macau were closed on December 1, 2021.
Mr Chau has been in pre-trial detention since his arrest in November last year.
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