A former shareholder, agent and friend of Suncity Group CEO Alvin Chau told a Macau court on Thursday that he had developed a system to assist with “betting under the table” transactions.
Cheong Chi Kin, the fifth of 21 defendants in the Suncity case, admitted that he ran two companies that offered “betting under the table” and that he would bring customers to Suncity’s Macau VIP rooms. Both he and Ali Celestino, former Vice President of Suncity’s IT, faced trial on Thursday, charged with criminal syndicate, illegal gambling, and fraud (betting under the table).
Celestino revealed that he had set up a system called Opsman at the request of Cheong after he became interested in Suncity’s SunPeople system – an internal communications app used by Suncity staff.
“Cheong Chi Kin was interested in the SunPeople system, so he asked me to set up an Opsman system involving the billing room, so I helped him design the system,” Celstino said.
However, Celestino explained that the Opsman system was designed and set up by a mainland IT company, and he was only a “middleman”.
“I commissioned the mainland IT company to set up the system and then handed it over to Cheong, then I left the operation unattended,” he said.
Celestino stressed that he was in charge of the IT department of Suncity and that any changes to the system were directed from corporate to IT, which then passed them on to the design company.
Alvin Chau had clarified previously that not all systems used by Suncity were compatible with betting under the table, and although he knew that Celestino and Cheong had exchanges, the three of them had never met at the same time.
In the courtroom on Monday, Chau said he was aware of betting under the table, but when asked by his lawyer who was responsible for the practice he replied, “I’m not sure, probably Cheong Chi Kin was responsible.”