4 Suncity departments involved in illicit betting, court hears

Closing arguments in the Suncity trial are due to take place on November 21.
Closing arguments in the Suncity trial are due to take place on November 21.

A police investigator has told court that only Suncity’s former CEO could have coordinated the four departments.

Macau.- Lau Weng Keun of Macau’s Judiciary Police has told the trial of former Suncity executives that four company departments were involved in illicit betting. He said Suncity Group’s marketing development department, IT department, operation department and accounting department were all involved.

He suggested that only the company’s CEO, Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, could have coordinated such an operation. He said “The ability to deploy [the departments], and each having a division of labour, could only be from Mr Chau. The case showed that they had a common criminal goal, and had a certain awareness of counter-investigation.”

The witness said police found that under-the-table wagers had taken place in 229 VIP rooms and casinos in Macau over several years based on Suncity Group financial records and mobile chat records.

However, Alvin Chau’s lawyer, Leong Hon Man, told the court on Tuesday that 200 of those venues were hosted not by Suncity Group but by other junkets, and in some cases involved “direct VIP play” hosted by casino operators themselves.

Lau Weng Keun said many of the junket VIP rooms in Macau were closed shortly after his officers took over the case following the arrest of Chau Cheok Wa in November 2021. When the police investigated, they were unable to verify whether under-the-table betting took place in some direct VIP venues.

Leong Hon Man questioned police investigators into allegations that Suncity encouraged Macau players to engage in proxy gambling at live tournaments in the Philippines. Lau Weng Keun said evidence collected from Suncity Group’s computer servers showed that players had wagered on games played on real tables with live dealers but police were unable to confirm the venue’s location.

Chau’s lawyer asked whether it was a crime for Macau junket operators to promote proxy gaming overseas, such as in the Philippines, where proxy gaming is a licenced and legal activity. However, Lou Ieng Ha, the trial judge, said that would be a matter for the court to decide.

Alvin Chau Cheok Wa denies facilitating illegal gambling and accusations that he ran under-the-table betting for high rollers. The judge presiding over the trial has previously set November 21 as the date for closing arguments

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