Former Macau Junket Operator Alvin Chau to Remain in Prison

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Alvin Chau, the ex-chairman of Suncity Group Ltd., has seen his 18-year prison term validated by the Macau Second Circuit Court. The recent ruling reveals that while a few of his accomplices witnessed a decrease in their sentences, Alvin Chau remains bound to his original penalty.

Chau Doesn’t Find Sympathy

In the most recent ruling, Chau and a portion of the individuals implicated in the case were cleared of any fraudulent acts and found not responsible for the HKD8.67 billion (US$1.08 billion) owed to both the Macau government and various casino establishments. Last week's decision also brought about a reduction in the sentences of the four defendants, from 15 years to 12 and a half years.

Chau and Philip Wong Pak Ling, once known as the former chief financial officer at Suncity Group, had been found guilty of engaging in money laundering activities. In addition to them, seven other individuals were also found liable by the Macau authorities. The court has ruled that all nine respondents must pay a substantial amount of HK$25.51 billion (US$3.26 billion) to cover the damages resulting from their involvement in unlawful gambling pursuits and financial crimes.

Chau, who also founded Suncity group, faced charges along with 20 other individuals, including illegal gambling, criminal conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering. Back in mid-January, he was handed an 18-year prison sentence. It is worth noting that Chau has not yet been convicted of theft by a trial court.

Several government representatives are expressing their disapproval of the second court's recent ruling, which upheld the criminal convictions of nine defendants, including Chau. The charges against them ranged from illegal gambling to proxy betting and illegal betting.

Billions of Dollars Stolen

The bets placed on the casino table can be seen as private bets that hold a higher level of significance, allowing individuals to evade particular tax obligations that apply to Macau and high-stakes casino games. The Court of Appeal recently determined that Chau and his associates generated unlawful profits exceeding HKD17.66 billion (US$2.25 billion) through illicit underground betting activities, with at least HKD7.21 billion (US$921.43 million) derived from online or proxy betting methods.

Chau, Philip Wong, and Cheung Ling Ling shared their delightful news of receiving nearly HKD617 million (US$78.85 million) and CNY17.0 million (equivalent to US$2.3 million) in profit for Suncity Group from their service distribution. However, Cheung, despite being acquitted earlier this year by a lower court, is now facing a five-year prison sentence as an accomplice to money laundering charges by the same court.

Cheung, who also goes by the name Zhang Ningning, has been accused of overseeing properties on behalf of Suncity Group. In a court case linked to Suncity, he was handed a seven-year prison sentence in Wenzhou, China.

Philip Wong, Cheong Chi Kin, Tim Chau Chun Hee, and Ali Celestino are the individuals associated with various roles and responsibilities in the case. During the trial, Cheong Chi Kin acknowledged running numerous betting establishments within the VIP rooms under the Suncity Group's jurisdiction. Tim Chau Chun Hee disclosed his involvement as an investor in a company exclusively focused on the betting industry. Ali Celestino, a former Suncity executive, was identified as someone who assisted in overseeing the group's information technology matters.

The possibility remains for the defendants to lodge an appeal with the Macau Court of Final Appeal.

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