According to sources, Macau’s Court of Final Appeal has rejected the application for a writ of habeas corpus – protection against unlawful and indefinite imprisonment – filed by some of the defendants in the case of former Suncity Group chairman Alvin Chau, and has extended their detention period to three years.
Chau and four other suspects were arrested and sent to Coloane Prison in November 2021 to be detained under mandatory measures and have been imprisoned for more than two years. In January, the Court of First Instance sentenced Chau to 18 years in prison and 12 others to sentences ranging from 15 years in prison to five months suspended.
In October, Macau’s Court of Second Instance partially upheld an appeal by the group but did not reduced their prison sentences and tripled the amount of compensation they must pay for money laundering offences to HK$25 billion (US$3.2 billion). Both the Procuratorate and the defendants appealed this decision to the Court of Final Appeal.
As Chau and four other suspects have been in prison for more than two years, sources said the legal team of some of the defendants had filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Court of Final Appeal, arguing that it was illegal to continue to detain them.
On Thursday, the court handed down its judgement on these applications, which were rejected. According to the source, two of the three judges who heard the application considered that the defendant was involved in “triad offences” and should not be granted a writ of habeas corpus.
Subsequently, the judges also extended the period of detention by three years.
The sources said Chau did not file such a request with the court and so was not associated with this decision.