BEIJING (AP) – Chinese authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the head of Macau’s biggest junket organizer, accused of helping run an illegal cross-border gambling union.

Prosecutors in Wenzhou, eastern Zhejiang Province, said in a statement on Weibo on Friday that Suncity Group CEO Alvin Chau, along with another person, Zhang Ningning, had led cross-border gambling operations and created casinos across China.

Authorities said they had been investigating the case since July last year and that the gambling union had 199 shareholder representatives, more than 12,000 agents promoting its gambling operations and more than 80,000 players in its network.

The union has also set up asset management companies to assist players with cross-border fund transfers and to collect their debts.

Casinos and most forms of gambling are illegal in mainland China, and Macau is the only Chinese city allowed to operate a casino. Visitors from the mainland can travel to Macau to play, but must obtain a visa.

In 2019, China’s state-owned Xinhua News Agency accused Suncity of targeting mainland players with online gambling and proxy betting operations based in Cambodia and the Philippines. Suncity has denied the allegations.

In Friday’s statement, authorities said the union “had seriously undermined the social order of the country” and urged Chau to surrender, in return for more lenient punishment.

Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group could not be reached for comment by phone and did not immediately respond to email inquiries.