A casino gambler has been sued by Wynn Resorts’ Macau operation after welching on a HKD 13.9m (US $1.8m) marker. Wynn Macau filed a writ in Hong Kong’s High Court this week, charging Chinese tycoon Li Jun (pictured) with somehow forgetting to pay most of the HKD 15m tab he ran up playing VIP baccarat at Wynn’s casino on Macau’s Cotai strip. Wynn’s move follows similar deadbeat suits filed by Las Vegas Sands’ Asian division this January. In those cases, also filed with the Hong Kong High Court, two Chinese businessmen were accused of reneging on a total of over HKD 35m in markers rung up at the Venetian Macao.
Collecting on casino markers is a tricky proposition on the Chinese mainland, where gambling debts are not legally recognized. Frustrated Macau casino operators are suspected of having a hand in setting up the Wonderful World website, which publicly ‘names and shames’ gambling deadbeats in a bid to (a) compel them to pay up and (b) spoil their attempts at garnering credit at any other casinos. But it’s a different situation in Hong Kong, which like Macau enjoys special economic zone status and where betting is permitted under the authority of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Li Jun shouldn’t be short of cash, having built a fortune via his Beijing-based Abest Group. Then again, the 42-year-old Li has bigger problems than paying his Wynn marker. In late August, Li was arrested for breaking into the home of his girlfriend Shen Xing, the 38-year-old host of a Phoenix TV fine-dining show. Li was reportedly suspicious that Shen was being unfaithful, so he claimed to be going abroad, then snuck back into town on his private jet in the hopes of catching Shen in the act. When arrested, Li was carrying a retractable baton, allegedly intent on doing Shen and/or her paramour physical harm.
Li was eventually released on HKD 1.2m bail and given an Oct. 18 court date in Kowloon City Court to face charges of burglary and possession of a prohibited weapon. Until then, he was ordered to remain at his residence at Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Place hotel, the same address listed on Wynn’s court filing. The South China Morning Post reached a man by telephone at that address, but the wannabe Jedi denied he was the Li Jun that Wynn was looking for. That better not be his legal team’s plan to beat the other charges.