Macau arrests Suncity boss on China gambling charge

BEIJING (AP) – Macau police on Saturday arrested the chief of Macau’s largest casino junket organizer and others after Chinese authorities issued an arrest warrant for them on charges they were running an illegal cross-border gambling syndicate.

The arrests in the gambling enclave came after prosecutors in Wenzhou, eastern Zhejiang province, on Friday accused Suncity Group CEO Alvin Chau and another person, Zhang Ningning, of having led cross-border gambling operations and established casinos across China.

Casinos and most forms of gambling are illegal in mainland China, and semi-autonomous Macau is the only Chinese city allowed to operate a casino. Visitors from the mainland can travel to Macau to play, but must obtain a visa.

“Based on the evidence obtained in previous criminal investigations, the (Macau) police returned criminal suspect Chau and others involved to the police station for legal investigation this morning,” the government said. from Macau in a statement on Saturday.

Authorities said they had been investigating the case since July last year. They said the gambling union has 199 shareholder representatives, more than 12,000 agents promoting its gambling operations and more than 80,000 players in its network.

The union has also set up asset management companies to help players with cross-border money transfers and to collect debts, authorities said.

In 2019, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua accused Suncity of targeting mainland players with online gambling and proxy betting operations based in Cambodia and the Philippines. Suncity has denied the allegations.

Authorities said the union “had seriously undermined the social order of the country” and on Friday urged Chau to surrender in exchange for more lenient punishment.

Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group could not be reached for comment by phone and did not immediately respond to email inquiries.

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