Prosecutors in eastern China’s Wenzhou City have issued an arrest warrant for Macau junket tycoon Alvin Chau, accusing him of engaging in gambling activities on the mainland. China.
Chau is the founder of Macau’s largest junket operator, Suncity, which operates VIP gambling halls across Asia. Junket operators are middlemen who get big players to gamble in casinos, grant them credit and collect their debts.
Casino gambling is illegal in China outside of the Macau Special Administrative Region, the world’s largest gambling hub.
An investigation found that Chau had formed a network of agents on the mainland to help citizens engage in offshore and cross-border gambling activities, the Wenzhou City Public Security Bureau said on Friday.
Chau has also established an asset management company on the mainland to help players make cross-border money transfers, the coastal city authority in Zhejiang Province said on its Weibo account.
Chau was taken to a police station for investigation today, the Macau government said in a statement.
The Special Administrative Region government has said it has a comprehensive management system for junket operators and will step up its oversight over them and their businesses when revising its gambling law, with the aim of to maintain the healthy and orderly development of the tourism industry.
Suncity’s Hong Kong-listed entity, Suncity Group Holdings Ltd, does not include its junket operations.
The Wenzhou authority said that in July 2020, the Chau-led “crime syndicate” had 199 shareholder-level agents, more than 12,000 gaming agents and more than 80,000 betting members.
“The amount of money involved was exceptionally large, seriously undermining the social management order of our country,” the security bureau said. “The security authorities urge (Chau) to surrender as soon as possible, in order to obtain lenient treatment.”