1: alvin chau, the chairman and founder of suncity group, macau’s biggest operator of junkets, has been sentenced to 18 years in jail for more than 100 charges including organised crime and illegal gaming. prosecutors accused chau of creating and leading a criminal syndicate that had facilitated undeclared bets, resulting in the government losing more than hk$8.26bn in tax income. the court ruled in favour of the prosecutors for most of the charges, but acquitted chau of money laundering.
2: the incident happened in macau, the only chinese city where gambling is legal. suncity arranged for high rollers from mainland china to travel to macau and gamble in the city’s casinos, and offered loans to them. illegal bets exceeded hk$823.7bn (â£85.7bn; $105bn). suncity also collected debts for casinos, and operated vip rooms across macau’s casinos.
3: the gambling industry has been hit hard by coronavirus restrictions as well as a crackdown by the chinese government’s on money being moved out of the mainland. a court in the eastern chinese city of wenzhou jailed more than 30 people for cross-border gambling in connection with chau’s case. suncity shut all of its vip rooms after chau’s arrest. number of junkets in macau had been on constant decline, now only 36 junket operators left, down from 100 in 2019. chau was nicknamed “junket king” and local media labelled him ‘washing rice wa” after a sitcom character – though the name can also be seen as an euphemism for money laundering.