Wenzhou issues arrest warrant for Macau junket mogul Chau
Prosecutors in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou have issued an arrest warrant for Macau junket mogul Alvin Chau, accusing him of operating gambling activities on China's mainland.
Chau is the founder of Macau's biggest junket operator, Suncity, which operates VIP gambling rooms across Asia. Junket operators are go-betweens who bring high rollers to play at casinos, extending them credit and collecting on their debts.
Casino gambling is illegal in China outside the special administrative region of Macau, the world's largest gambling hub.
An investigation found that Chau formed a junket agent network in the mainland to help citizens engage in offshore as well as cross-border gambling activities, the Wenzhou City Public Security Bureau said on Friday.
Chau also set up an asset management company in the mainland to help gamblers to make cross-border fund transfers, the authority in coastal city in Zhejiang province said on its Weibo account.
Chau was brought to a police station for investigation today, the Macau government said in a statement.
The special administrative region's government said it has a complete management system of junket operators and will intensify its oversight on them and their businesses when revising its gambling law, in an effort to maintain the healthy and orderly development of the tourism industry.
Suncity's publicly listed entity in Hong Kong, Suncity Group
Holdings Ltd, does not include its junket operations.
The Wenzhou authority said that as of July 2020, the "crime syndicate" led by Chau had 199 shareholder-level agents, more than 12,000 gambling agents and over 80,000 punter members.
"The amount of money involved was exceptionally large, seriously damaging our country's social management order," the security bureau said. "The security authorities urges (Chau) to surrender himself as soon as possible, in order to get a lenient treatment."