35 defendants in trial involving cross-border illegal gambling syndicate trial headed by Alvin Chau plead guilty

Picture source: CNS Photo

13th August 2022 – (Macao) The warrant of arrest was issued against founder of the Suncity Group, Alvin Chau by People’s Procuratorate of Wenzhou City in Zhejiang Province in November last year and he was subsequently arrested by Macao police for operating illegal gambling business. He was accused of using his online network to operate cross-border illegal gambling business and conduct money laundering activities.

According to Macao News Agency, in November 2021, Chao, the then CEO of junket operator Suncity and leading figure in its Hong Kong-listed arm, Suncity Group Holdings Ltd, was detained by Macao police authorities following an arrest warrant issued by authorities in Mainland China’s Wenzhou city over alleged cross-border gambling activities. The Public Prosecution Office details the alleged illicit side betting operations organised by the group in Suncity VIP rooms operating in properties of all six gaming concessionaires.

Wenzhou Intermediate People’s Court announced on Friday (12th) that from the 10th to the 12th, the court held a public hearing and it was alleged that the accused, Zhang Ningning and 34 other defendants operated casinos and other illegal businesses. Another defendant Zhang Shixiu and Zhong Haiyan were also guilty of operating illegal casinos. They were all part of a criminal syndicate headed by Alvin Chau.

It was alleged that since 2007, Chau, a shareholder and director of Suncity Group in Macao has contracted gambling halls in casinos in Macao and other places, and since 2015, he has opened online gambling sites in the Philippines and other places. According to the allegations, in order to seek illegal benefits, Chao developed shareholder-level agents and gambling agents to provide high commissions to induce agents at all levels to organise Chinese citizens to participate in cross-border gambling, to promote online gambling business and to establish assets in China.

A management company was also set up to provide services for gamblers to exchange assets for gambling chips, assist customers in cross-border capital redemption, and recovers gambling debts. It also utilised domestic underground banks and other third parties to provide gambling capital payment and settlement for gamblers and to provide gambler management through domestic technology companies, fund settlement, vehicle services and other technical support. Companies were also set up in China to provide vehicle pick-up services for Chinese citizens to go abroad to gamble. They were also arranged to go abroad to gamble at Suncity casino and participate in cross-border online gambling.

As of November 2021, the cross-border gambling syndicate headed by Chau had committed the crime of opening casinos, developing a total of more than 400 shareholder-level agents (283 are Chinese nationals), more than 60,000 gambling agents (38,307 are Chinese nationals) and over 60,000 member-gamblers in China. The amount involved was particularly huge, which has seriously disrupted social order and economic order. Wenzhou Intermediate People’s Court said that during the trial, the public prosecutor presented relevant evidence for the crimes. Thirty-five defendants including Zhang Ningning pleaded guilty and repented in court.

More than 60 relatives of the defendants and people from all walks of life attended the trial. After the trial, the court announced an adjournment and sentencing at a later date.