The former board of Okada Manila operator Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment Inc (TRLEI) has sued gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada and his representatives on a range of serious charges, including kidnapping and illegal detention, following last week’s forced takeover of the Philippines integrated resort.
Fronting local media on Monday, TRLEI attorney Estrella Elemparo and TRLEI co-vice chair Michiaki Satate revealed that Satate and TRLEI director James Lorenzana had also filed complaints of physical injuries, grave coercion and unjust vexations with the Department of Justice, having previously claimed that the Kazuo Okada group “illegally and violently took over the premises of Okada Manila, employing brute force and intimidation to compel key legitimate officers to vacate the premises.”
Named in the complaints are Kazuo Okada, Antonio “TonyBoy” Conjuangco, Dindo Espeleta, Tetsuya Yokota and Hiroshi Kawamura, plus lawyer Florentino “Binky” Herrera III and security officers of A9 Security and Investigative Services, led by Jose Nicolas.
Another TRLEI director, Hajime Tokuda, has lodged kidnapping and illegal detention charges which claim he was taken “physically from his chair” in a “kidnapping that happened right in front of our eyes.” Inside Asian Gaming published video of the alleged incident on Sunday, which Tokuda’s lawsuit says saw him forced into the Okada Manila basement, then into an unknown car before being dropped at home.
In a statement provided to IAG on Monday, Tokuda said he was “was held on all sides, like a dead body being removed from a crime scene.
“This is probably one of the most traumatic events in my life,” he explained. “I felt so much fear. I was very anxious. I was so confused. All the pain caused by the men who handled me, all the sound of horror from the screams, the intimidation they employed when they suddenly cut off the electricity in the ballroom – no one deserves to be treated this way.
“You now know what Kazuo Okada, Tonyboy Cojuangco and Dindo Espeleta are capable of: They will use their influence in government to the point of violence to achieve their illegal aspirations.
“Let this be a warning to the public: Do not engage in businesses with these men. The most that they can do for you is what they did to me: violence.”
The actions brought against the Kazuo Okada group on Monday were supported by Kazuo Okada’s ex-wife, Takako Okada, director of TRLEI immediate parent company Tiger Resorts Asia Limited (domiciled in Hong Kong) and parent-of-parent Universal Entertainment Corporation (domiciled in Japan), who condemned the “violent acts” and warned such situations would deter foreign investors from the Philippines. Kazuo Okada’s estranged son Tomohiro Okada owns 53.47% of Okada Holdings Ltd, the ultimate parent firm that controls Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp (UEC) and its subsidiaries, including Hong Kong-incorporated Tiger Resort Asia Ltd, which owns 99.9% of TRLEI.
While last week’s takeover followed the issuance by the Supreme Court of the Philippines of a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) to TRLEI ordering restoration of the composition of the board of directors of TRLEI to its 2017 lineup – before the dispute between UEC and Kazuo Okada that saw Okada removed – the former board said Monday that the SQAO did not grant the Kazuo Group any power to physically takeover the premises of Okada Manila.
Kazuo Okada had subsequently, on 4 May 2022, filed with the Supreme Court an Extremely Urgent Omnibus Motion requesting access to the TRLEI office and permission to takeover Okada Manila.
But the former board said, “To date, the Supreme Court has yet to act on this motion and yet, in a blatant act of contempt of court, the Kazuo Group did not bother to wait for the court’s ruling. They decided to take the law into their own hands and pre-empted the decision of the Supreme Court.”
Satate added, “We are doing everything that we can to have this issue resolved immediately, as we don’t want our guests, employees and stockholders to suffer from Mr Okada’s greed. We will exhaust all legal means to have this corrected.”