Macau jails gambling ‘junket king’ Alvin Chau for 18 years


Chau was charged with 289 counts of fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling over his casino ‘junket’ operation.

Alvin Chau, the man once known as Macau’s casino “junket king”, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for running an illegal gambling empire, ending a criminal trial that shocked the casino hub and toppled one of its highest-profile gaming tycoons.

Chau, the 48-year-old founder of Suncity Group, pioneered the junket industry that brought high rollers from mainland China — where marketing or soliciting gambling is illegal — to gamble in Macau, the only place in the country where casinos operate legally. The junket operators also extended credit to wealthy mainland gamblers and collected their debt on behalf of casinos.

Prosecutors had charged Chau with 289 counts of fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling.

Judge Lou Ieng Ha on Wednesday found Chau guilty of fraud, running a criminal syndicate and operating illegal bets, but acquitted him on the money laundering charge.

Suncity under Chau’s leadership had “conducted illegal gambling for unlawful gains for a long time”, the judge said in her ruling.

The trial, which began in September, centred on alleged under-the-table bets worth 824 billion Hong Kong dollars ($105bn) over eight years, which defrauded Macau of tax revenue exceeding 1 billion Hong Kong dollars ($128m).