The operator of a website offering financial bounties on alleged Macau casino deadbeats says his ‘name and shame’ site has allowed creditors to collect around HKD 30m (US $3.87m). Charlie Choi Kei Ian operates the Singapore-hosted ‘Wonderful World’ site, which until recently displayed names, photos and personal details of over 70 individuals allegedly owing sums to casinos and junket operators. Choi told Macau Business Daily that his site’s “open disclosure” had resulted in 10 of the featured individuals making good on their debts over the past two months, but he denied that the site earned “any service charge or commission” from successful debt collections.
Earlier this week, the Wonderful World site displayed a Chinese-language notice trumpeting its role as the “best publicity platform” for chasing down casino debtors. A caveat was subsequently added clarifying that the site wasn’t “a debt-collecting company,” merely a “platform free-of-conditions for people bullied by cheaters.” Many of these ‘cheaters’ are listed as residing on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia, while most of the debts were apparently rung up in Macau’s casinos. Some of the debtors’ profiles on Wonderful World included loan receipts bearing the names of prominent Macau junket operators.
The site also features a scripted promo video in which a debt collector chews out an underling over his inability to track down the gambling deadbeats. According to a GamblingCompliance translation of the video, the frustrated employee is saved when someone points him toward the Wonderful World site, which allows him to report successful debt collection to his boss. Another video on the site claims six of the debtors had undergone facial reconstructive surgery in South Korea to help them avoid detection by creditors.
Macau’s Judiciary Police are investigating whether the inclusion of the alleged deadbeats’ phone numbers and other personal info violated local privacy laws, but it’s unclear what steps Macau authorities could take against the Singapore-based site. Choi said the info on each debtor was “wholly provided” by creditors and insists he’s “not concerned with any legal risks” although the site has since removed the alleged deadbeats’ phone numbers, addresses, the amount of their individual debts as well as the ‘bounties’ offered to those who supplied creditors with info as to the debtors’ whereabouts. Choi maintains that he’s willing to cooperate with Macau authorities and would “face any consequences” stemming from their investigation.