Former Suncity associates reportedly involved in smuggling oil to North Korea

Alvin Chau Cheok Wa has already been sentenced for conducting illegal gambling.
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa has already been sentenced for conducting illegal gambling.

Former associates of Suncity founder Alvin Chau were reportedly involved in a smuggling operation.

Macau.- An investigation by the Financial Times and the Royal United Services Institute has alleged that two former business associates of Alvin Chau, the founder of former Macau junket operator Suncity Group, were involved in oil smuggling that enabled North Korea to obtain crude and develop nuclear weapons. 

The report claims that Gary To Ka-hin, CEO of Sun Gold Holdings, has links to the 14K triad, an organised crime syndicate active in Hong Kong and Macau. To Ka-hin is alleged to have co-owned the Unica, one of three foreign vessels that had direct access to North Korea and which made at least 23 sailings from 2019 onwards.

The other businessman implicated is Sun Tit Fan, a grandson of a deceased agent sent by North Korea to Macau. He is alleged to have operated companies that purchased tens of millions of dollars worth of oil through the subsidiary of a North Korean bank that was under US sanctions. Sun Tit Fan is a director of Sun International Automobile Company.

According to the report, To Ka-hin has denied having ties to the Unica oil tanker, saying that he sold the firm that owned the vessel in 2018. However, the Financial Times claims to have found evidence suggesting he remained in control of the company until at least 2020. 

Alvin Chau Cheok Wa was sentenced to 18 years in prison for involvement in off-books gambling in Macau. Both the prosecution and defence have lodged appeals against the sentence. Chau received 12 years for running a criminal organisation, five for 54 counts of high-value theft and four years for conducting illegal gambling in authorised venues. Some of the sentences are concurrent.

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