Suncity executive tight lipped to police and served with jail time

By Charlotte Lee Updated
Suncity executive tight lipped to police and served with jail time

A Suncity executive has been sentenced to nine months in prison for refusing to cooperate with authorities.

Macau’s judiciary police said the woman, identified only by her last name, “Ho”, had refused to answer questions during interviews.

This was despite being informed by the police and Prosecutors Delegate of her rights and duties.

Under Macau law, failure to testify without just cause is a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.

The woman was one of 11 people detained on November 27, along with Suncity chairman and chief executive Alvin Chau.

They are being held on suspicion of criminal association, illicit gambling exploitation and money laundering.

If convicted, the 11 suspects face up to 12 years in prison.

Potential Suncity executive expresses no remorse

Ho was referred to Macau’s Court of First Instance.

At her sentencing, the judge noted that in addition to trying to deny her transgression, she expressed no remorse for her actions.

The suspended sentence is contingent on a “donation” of US$623 within the next three months.

The woman is believed to be one of Suncity Group’s senior executives.

The detention of Chau and ten of those who worked for him came just days after authorities in mainland China filed a warrant for his arrest and it sent shockwaves through Macau’s gaming industry.

It signalled the end of the junket model in Macau that had once generated some 60 per cent of revenues in the world’s richest gambling hub.

Suncity was the biggest junket operator in the world and Chau had grown it into an international conglomerate, with interests in everything from real estate to resort development and movie production.

But Chinese authorities are waging a war against cross-border gambling and have run out of patience with the junkets.

For years, they have supplied Macau’s casinos with a steady stream of wealthy Chinese mainlanders, lending them currency for gambling to bypass Beijing’s strict controls on the movement of money.

Meanwhile, many junketers have been dogged by rumours of criminal association.

This includes Chau, who Australian authorities believe was once a member of the 14K Triads under notorious crime boss “Broken Tooth”.

Suncity’s Macau junket branch was officially wound up on December 1.

Chau’s junket business ends abruptly

Sun City Gaming Promotion Company Limited, the Suncity company licensed by the Macau government to provide VIP gaming promotion services officially shut its business.

The announcement came in the form of a letter from the company to its employees, which was widely distributed on the internet.

The letter says that the company “regretfully announces the termination of its business with immediate effect from December 10.”

“The company will work with the relevant government departments to ensure a smooth transition and will announce arrangements through the heads of departments in due course.”

The announcements ends the Suncity junket promotion business, formerly the undisputed king of VIP casino gaming promotion throughout Macau, Asia and the world, and follows the arrest and detainment without bail of the company’s sole shareholder, Alvin Chau, awaiting trial for alleged criminal association, illegal gambling and money laundering.

Founded in 2007, with its first VIP room at StarWorld on the Macau peninsula, the Suncity junket business had a run of 14 years.

During the peak of its empire, it had as many as 17 VIP rooms in Macau, as well as rooms in the Philippines, Cambodia and as far afield as Australia.

It was also single handedly responsible for as much as a third of Macau’s world record-breaking high levels of gross gaming revenue.

The effect of Suncity’s closure leaves in its wake a raft of unanswered questions from the Macau gaming industry, not least which includes the future of former Suncity employees.

Also yet to be resolved is the ultimate fate of deposit monies owed by Suncity to its former clients, the numerous other Suncity companies given the group’s main source of revenue is no more, and all other junket operators in Macau.

Back to top