Alvin Chau, once known as Macau's casino "junket king", has had his 18-year prison sentence upheld by the enclave's appeals court, the Court of Second Instance.
Chau, the former CEO of Suncity Group, was convicted in January, 2023, on charges of fraud, running a criminal syndicate, and operating illegal bets.
Rumours swirled during the year that Chau could win back his freedom at this hearing but it is now certain that he will be an old man by the time he gets out.
The fact that Chau’s sentence for fraud was quashed by the appeals court will offer little consolation.
Illegal Gambling Syndicate
Alvin Chau's legal troubles began in November 2021 when authorities in the mainland city of Wenzhou issued a warrant for his arrest for running an illegal gambling syndicate. Macau authorities arrested him and other senior company executives two days later, choosing to charge them locally due to a concurrent investigation based in the city.
The appeals court also tripled the compensation that Chau and Suncity must pay to the Macau government after discovering that Chau and Suncity were found to have swindled the Macau government out of HK$8.2 billion (US$1.1 billion) in tax revenue through illicit "under-the-table" bets offered to VIP clients at Macau casinos between 2013 and 2021.
And just to rub more salt into Chau's wounds, an additional conviction for aggravated money laundering was added, and Chau and seven co-defendants had their conviction and sentences upheld for the charge of involvement in a triad gang.
The court also upheld the freezing of Alvin Chau's bank accounts, real estate holdings, a company known as Sawalana Limited registered in London, and other assets listed in the MP reports.
Fall from Grace
Alvin Chau was one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in Macau before his fall from grace.
It is estimated that Suncity was responsible for generating as much as 25% of the VIP-paid revenue in the city only a couple of years ago. Chau must be kicking himself for killing his Golden Goose unnecessarily.
Suncity was known to multiply bets placed in Macua’s casinos and settle them later without declaring the tax. Given the huge sums the firm was making, there really was no need with such risk.