A suspect identified by authorities as a 47-year-old businessman surnamed Chau and very widely reported to be Suncity Group CEO Alvin Chau was transferred to Macau’s Coloane prison early Monday morning after being denied bail following his arrest over the weekend for alleged criminal association, illegal gambling and money laundering.
According to reports by some Chinese-language media outlets, Chau was interrogated for around 14 hours on Sunday before the criminal court accepted a recommendation from the prosecutor’s office to impose compulsory detention. The suspect was transferred to Coloane Prison around 6am today (Monday).
Hong Kong’s All-In Media said Chau was one of six people transferred to the prison for trial.
It comes after Macau’s Judiciary Police (PJ) named a 47-year-old resident with the surname of Chau among 11 people arrested on Saturday as part of a mainland Chinese investigation into cross-border and online gambling. It was alleged during a press conference on Sunday that the 11 people are all senior members of a “criminal organization” involved in illegal gambling and money laundering.
Much like Chau, the exact name of the “criminal organization” referred to was not mentioned by authorities but has been widely reported as leading VIP promoter Suncity Group.
Suncity Group’s Hong Kong-listed entity, which is a joint venture partner in Vietnam IR Hoiana and is developing a US$1 billion casino hotel in Manila, entered a trading halt as of 9am on Monday, as did its subsidiary Summit Ascent Holdings – the majority owner of the Tigre de Cristal casino and resort in Vladivostok, Russia.
In a filing, Suncity said trading in shares of the company had been halted “pending the release of an announcement in relation to news coverage regarding Mr Chau Cheok Wa (Alvin Chau), an executive Director, the chairman of the Board and a controlling shareholder of the Company, which constitutes inside information of the Company.”
The PJ stressed during Sunday’s press conference that the arrest of the man named Mr Chau followed its own two-year investigation and was not linked to an announcement by the Wenzhou Public Security Bureau, located in China’s Zhejiang province, less than 48 hours earlier, that the Bureau had been granted approval by the People’s Procuratorate of Wenzhou to issue an arrest warrant for Alvin Chau.
The Bureau accused Chau of “opening casinos in China” via the operation of cross-border gambling operations on behalf of Suncity Gaming Promotion Company Limited, alleging he had “set up an asset management company in Mainland China to provide services for gamblers to exchange assets for gambling chips, helped to collect gambling debts, assisted clients in cross-border capital exchange, and used underground banks to provide gamblers with funds settlement services.”