Levo Chan trial hears closing arguments

Levo Chan Weng Lin was arrested in January 2022.
Levo Chan Weng Lin was arrested in January 2022.

Both sides made their final remarks at the Macau Court of First Instance today.

Macau.- The trial involving Levo Chan Weng Lin, the former chief of the now-defunct junket operator Tak Chun Group is close to an end after the prosecution and the defence parties made their closing arguments at the Macau Court of First Instance today (March 8).

Prosecutor Lai U Hou said in his closing statement that Chan Weng Lin had “controlled” a criminal group and, with the support of the other six defendants, carried out long-term under-the-table betting operations, proxy betting and money laundering in Macau.

The criminal syndicate is accused of taking under-the-table bets – also known as multiplier betting – between 2014 and early 2020 to avoid gaming taxes. It’s alleged that it made illicit profits of at least HK$1.5bn (US$191.1m).

Another prosecutor Tam I Kuan said the syndicate “deliberately breached contracts” between Tak Chun and the city’s gaming concessionaires to run under-the-table betting. However, Leong Hon Man, the lawyer representing the Tak Chun boss, said the charges against Chan lacked evidence. 

During the trial, none of the former Tak Chun employees who testified admitted to direct involvement in the under-the-table betting operation. Leong claims that allegations of Tak Chun’s involvement were based solely on hearsay and personal judgment.

Leong said the charges against his client were based solely on paper documents, with no visits to the casinos where under-the-table betting was allegedly taking place or attempts to verify the identities of any gamblers involved.

He claimed that out of over 3,400 alleged under-the-table bets recorded in the documents, only five had been proven by the police and the prosecution with other supporting evidence. He argued that there was no reason to believe that Tak Chun had engaged in illicit activities since it had substantial stable income, with over HK$30bn in revenue. 

He added that under-the-table betting had been prevalent in Macau for years and that officials from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) had testified that it was difficult to prove such activities took place.

In his closing argument, lawyer Ai Linzhi, representing the defendant and former Tak Chun executive Cherie Wong Pui Keng, criticised both the government and gaming operators. He said DICJ officials claimed not to have witnessed any under-the-table betting in Macau, while gaming concessionaires denied any knowledge and alleged fraud.

Levo Chan Weng Lin was arrested in January 2022. The Macau government is seeking HK$575.2m for losses of gaming revenue tax. Meanwhile, all local gaming operators except Melco Resorts and Entertainment have filed compensation claims.

Some 83 charges have been filed against Levo Chan Weng Lin, including one count of leadership in a criminal syndicate, 39 counts of illegal gambling at licensed venues (under-the-table betting), 33 counts of fraud, eight of attempted fraud, one of illegal gambling activities (proxy betting) and one count of money laundering.

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