Alan Ho, nephew of Macau’s gambling kingpin Stanley Ho, is on trial in the city for running a casino-linked prostitution ring. According to the prosecution, the ring occupied a hundred rooms and two whole floors of the city’s landmark Lisboa hotel, employed 2,400 sex workers and took in US$50 million over two years. The chief Judiciary Police officer investigating the case said the hotel’s senior manager Kelly Wang was in charge of the ring. He added that Ho, who is 69 and was the hotel’s executive director at the time, assessed the women’s “physical attributes” and took charge when Wang was away. Prostitutes employed nearly all came from mainland China. They allegedly paid 150,000 yuan (US$23,000) per year to attract clients by parading in the property’s shopping mall.
The Lisboa casino was the centerpiece of the gambling empire of Stanley Ho, who held the gaming monopoly in Macau for 40 years until 2002, making him the most powerful man in the city and one of the richest in Asia. While the elder Ho at 94 now takes a back seat, two of his children and one of his four wives each a holds a substantial stake in one of three of the city’s six gambling concessions. Given the clan’s standing, the very public arrest of Alan Ho, along with Wang and five other defendants in January last year was remarkable.
Prostitution is not illegal in Macau but pimping carries up to eight years in jail. Leaders of criminal syndicates can get eight to fifteen years. The goings on at the Lisboa “racetrack” had long been common knowledge and widely publicized on YouTube. Given this, lawyers representing Alan Ho asked the chief investigating inspector why the Judiciary Police had only busted the ring last year. The officer replied he could not comment on past investigations.