Macao police on Saturday detained the head of Macao’s biggest casino junket organiser and others after Chinese authorities issued an arrest warrant for them over accusations that they ran an illegal cross-border gambling syndicate.
The arrests in the gambling enclave came after prosecutors in Wenzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, on Friday accused Suncity Group CEO Alvin Chau and another person, Zhang Ningning, of leading cross-border gambling operations and setting up casinos across China.
Casinos and most forms of gambling are illegal in mainland China, and semi-autonomous Macao is the only Chinese city allowed to operate a casino. Mainland visitors are able to travel to Macao to gamble but are required to obtain a visa.
“Based on evidence obtained from previous criminal investigations, the (Macao) police brought the criminal suspect Chau and other persons involved back to the police station for investigation in accordance with the law this morning,” Macao’s government said in a statement on Saturday.
Authorities said they had been investigating the case since July last year. They said that the gambling syndicate has 199 shareholder representatives, over 12,000 agents that promoted its gambling operations and more than 80,000 gamblers in its network.
The syndicate also set up asset management firms to assist gamblers with cross-border fund transfers and to recover debts they owed, authorities said.