A senior executive of Macau junket operator Suncity Group told prosecutors on Wednesday that he and the company were not involved in online gambling, despite text messages of past conversations alluding to the operation of proxy betting in the Philippines.
On the third day of the trial of 21 people, including former CEO Alvin Chau, following their arrest last December for alleged criminal association, illegal gambling and money laundering, Cheung Yat Ping said he was not involved in any work with the online gaming company Universal e-City, and that conversations shown in evidence were no more than daily chats between himself and his colleagues.
Cheung has been charged with illegal gambling and criminal association.
A large amount of the evidence in the case is from conversations on WeChat and WhatsApp. Some of the content shows that Cheung had said in conversation, “Alvin Chau will not give up his job in Philippines proxy betting.”
Cheung explained that this was just a chat with his colleagues about the company’s development.
“In July 2019 (after Alvin Chau held a press conference denying involvement in online gambling), there was a discussion with colleagues about the development of the company. When colleagues discussed these topics … everyone just exchanged opinions. These opinions were from listening to others, or their own guesses.”
Cheung insisted that, after the 2019 press conference, many people within the company were discussing the issue.
“The company has a lot of co-workers who were all helpless as to why something that was legal had suddenly become illegal,” he said.
In a document from a conversation between Cheung and Alvin Chau, Cheung mentioned, “If we want to operate according to Macau laws and regulations, we have to make changes in administration structure, etc. If it is an overseas business … I hope [Chau] would give me a chance.”
Cheung explained, “At that time, I recommended myself to Alvin Chau to be in charge of the overseas business, but this not accepted and I did not go overseas for any business.”
According to the information, Cheung was the director of Suncity’s VIP room at City of Dreams at the time before being transferred to become director of the Market Planning Department in February 2020.
“My salary did not change since I was transferred. Before the pandemic, my salary was MOP$60,000 to MOP$70,000 (US$7,400 to US$8,700) a month, but after the pandemic it changed to MOP$30,000 (US$3,700). There was no change in my salary after the transfer.”
Cheung also claimed he had been driving a Toyota for more than 10 years and had savings of just over MOP$2 million (US$250,000) after working for more than 40 years.
The Sun City Market Planning Department is accused of being related to the online gaming company Universal e-City.