Chau’s trial has been postponed to September 19, because 11 of the 21 defendants were absent at the first scheduled hearing.
Macau.- The start of Alvin Chau Cheok Wa’s trial has been put back by at least two weeks due to the absence of 11 defendants on the scheduled start date on Friday (September 2). Chau appeared in a courtroom of the Court of First Instance for a hearing to begin his trial but neither he nor the other defendants present were asked to speak during the hour-long session.
The third-instance panel postponed the trial because the defendant Philip Wong Pak Ling, identified as the former chief financial officer of Suncity Group, failed to appear in court. Ten other defendants also failed to appear.
Wong Pak Ling’s lawyer said his client was in the hospital and that he wasn’t sure when he would be discharged. However, the judge imposed a fine, ruling that Wong Pak Ling’s absence was not justified due to a lack of supporting documents.
A copy of the indictment reviewed by GGRAsia alleges that the defendants ran a criminal syndicate that cheated the Macau government out of HK$8.26bn (US$1.05bn) in tax revenue. Some 92 witnesses have been asked to testify. Chau Cheok Wa could face between eight and 15 years in prison for the alleged crimes.
The former CEO of Suncity Group (now LET Group Holdings Ltd) is also charged with illegal gambling. The charges include providing illegal gambling at licenced gaming establishments and making illegal online and proxy bets.
The indictment alleges that Chau Cheok Wa’s group had been operating under-the-table betting for high rollers for years, which some commentators and government officials called a “multiplier.”
With multipliers, the bet denominated at the casino gaming table represented a private wager that would be a multiple of the “official” wager, thereby avoiding some wagers paying the effective tax rate of 39 per cent of Macau casinos’ gross gaming revenue.