Only two defendants partly accept charges in Suncity trial

Some 21 defendants, including Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, have been indicted for illicit gambling.
Some 21 defendants, including Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, have been indicted for illicit gambling.

The defendants including former Suncity Group CEO Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, have finished testifying.

Macau.- The defendants in the Suncity junket trial finished giving evidence today (September 28), with only two pleading guilty to some of the charges against them. Only 10 defendants actually attended the trial.

Some 21 defendants, including former Suncity Group (now LET Group Holdings Ltd) CEO Alvin Chau Cheok Wa have been charged with illegal gambling activities, participation in a criminal group, fraud and money laundering. According to the indictment, they ran a criminal syndicate that cheated the Macau government out of HK$8.26bn (US$1.05bn) in tax revenue between March 2013 and 2021. 

The 10th defendant to appear in court, Vincent Loi, former assistant vice president of VIP services at Suncity Group, denied that he was involved in managing the funds and operations of a criminal syndicate headed by Chau Cheok Wa. Only Cheong Chi Kin and Tim Chau Chun Hee have admitted involvement in under-the-table betting known as multiplier betting.

With multipliers, the bet denominated at the casino gaming table would represent a private wager that would be a multiple of the “official” wager, thereby avoiding the 39 per cent tax rate on gross gaming revenue.

Cheong Chi Kin, a former colleague of Alvin Chau Cheok Wa and a co-defendant in the former Suncity Group CEO’s trial, told Macau’s Court of First Instance that he ran two companies that facilitated under-the-table betting and brought customers to VIP rooms at Suncity.

He told prosecutor Lai U Hou that he had ties to companies specialising in handling gaming transactions, which had many employees, but said those groups had no affiliation with Sun City. He also admitted to placing multiplier bets in the Suncity VIP room and in rooms run by other junket operators in Macau, saying that Chau had referred him to many customers interested in multiplier betting.

Tim Chau, executive director of Alvin Chau’s local media-and-travel company UO Group, also admitted he had invested in one of the side-bet operations. Alvin Chau has denied all the charges but has told the court that under-the-table betting has long been widespread in Macau casinos.

The trial is now moving to the next stage, with witnesses to take the stand starting tomorrow (September 29). The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau is expected to testify, while over 90 individuals are listed as witnesses.

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