Casino operator could be forced to sell assets to pay staff

By Noah Taylor Updated
Casino operator could be forced to sell assets to pay staff

A casino operator in the Northern Marianas will be forced to sell off its assets to pay for more than $1 million in debts.

RNZ reports the US District Court for the Northern Marianas has ordered Imperial Pacific international to pay outstanding wages to 136 former employees from 2016 and 2017.

In the event IPI doesn’t come up with the funds, a receivership will be set up that will sell off IPI assets.

IPI has so far made a payment of US$233,000 to the US Department of Labor, of which US$36,000 went to underpaid workers.

The USDOE also wants IPI to set up an escrow account to cover future payrolls and is looking at an US$800,000 deposit as an acceptable amount to cover two months’ worth of payroll.

In addition to the ultimatum against IPI, US District Court of the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona also last week sustained the stop work order for IPI employees but modified it so that all other departments, except construction workers, could return to work.

Sydney man kidnapped child in attempt to recover gambling debt sentenced to jail

A Gold Coast child was kidnapped to recover a Sydney man’s $5.5 million gambling debt, the Southport District Court has heard.

The ABC reported in November that Zhen Jie Zhang, 55, has been sentenced to seven years’ jail after admitting he acted irrationally and said he wanted to formally apologise to his young victim, whose head he tied to a chair in 2018.

“I want to say I’m deeply sorry,” Zhang said through an interpreter.

“If you feel afraid please forgive me for that” your father was acting terribly and owed me a substantial amount of money.

“I felt I had no other option.”

The boy, who was 12 years old at the time, was snatched from outside his house in May 2018 as he walked home from Somerset College at Mudgeeraba.

He was bundled into a car and driven across the Queensland and New South Wales border, with an amber alert issued and the boy found 240 kilometres away in Grafton.

At the time, detectives said the boy was treated for scratches “consistent with being bound”.

Prosecutor Matt Hynes told the court the boy had a mask placed over his head and had been given water only twice during his 16 hours of captivity.

The boy also made three attempts to escape.

“On the first attempt, his ankles were tied; the second, a towel was placed in his mouth; the third, his head was tied to a chair with the rope around his neck,” Mr Hynes said.

The court heard Zhang and the boy’s father met in 2010 and gambled together.

The boy’s father had borrowed money from Zhang and also owed a substantial amount to casinos.

Mr Hynes said Zhang had set about extorting the boy’s family over a period of three and a half months, including sending threatening texts with the words: “Watch out…wait for pick up the body.”

In a victim impact statement, the young boy’s mother said her son went from being a happy-go-lucky boy to a child who was “sad, frightened and miserable.”

“She observes that when dark cars go near the house, he hides under tables,” Mr Hynes said.

Defence barrister Alastair McDougall said his client had no prior criminal history and his offending was born from desperation.

He said his client was trying to recover the money owed to pay for his mother’s medical expenses and to put his own son through flight school.

“He became frustrated with the non-repayments of monies,” Mr McDougall said.

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