The 35 defendants involved in a cross-border illegal gambling syndicate linked to former Macau junket boss Alvin Chau Cheok Wa have pleaded guilty in trials by an intermediate court in Wenzhou, a city in China’s Wenzhou province. Zhejiang, last week.
The Wenzhou Intermediate Court said in a statement that hearing proceedings for three cases involving the union headed by Mr. Chau were completed between last Wednesday and Friday, in which all defendants pleaded guilty and would be sentenced in due course. .
The syndicate had grown to a scale of more than 60,000 agents to provide services to more than 60,000 gamblers on the mainland, the court heard, as it offered “high commissions” to agents for arranging cross-border gambling trips for players. players and promoted online gaming platforms. implemented in the Philippines among the citizens of the mainland.
Through the syndicate’s established mainland asset management companies, as well as underground banks, the group offered cross-border money exchange and settlement services to mainland gamblers, also heard the Wenzhou court.
The union “seriously disrupted the social order and the market mechanism,” the court noted.
A new version of criminal law came into force on the mainland in March 2021, which specifically mentions that all parties will be found guilty if they “arrange” gambling trips for mainland Chinese outside the mainland, while Beijing has stepped up its efforts in cracking down on the cross-border game.
The 35 defendants in the Wenzhou cases include Zhang Ningning, Zhang Shixiu, Zhong Zexin and others, who were considered key members of the illegal gambling syndicate, the court said, adding that the charges against Mr Chau will be dealt with in a separate case.
Founder and head of former Macau junket operator Suncity Group, Mr Chau has been detained in Macau since last November, following an arrest warrant approved by the Wenzhou Procuratorate. Following his arrest, all Suncity VIP rooms in the city were closed last December.
Mr Chau now faces more than 200 charges of illicit gambling activity, criminal syndicate, fraud and money laundering alongside 20 other defendants in a separate trial in Macau, which is due to start on September 2. Zhang Ningning – who might also be known as Cheung Ling Ling – is also one of 21 defendants in the Macau case.