A high-rolling Asian gambler who wagered over $90m at Australian casinos has been shot dead on a Sydney street. Pete Tan Hoang aka Peter Minh Nguyen (pictured), a Vietnamese national who came to Australia as an orphaned refugee in the late 1990s, was shot multiple times early Sunday morning near Sydney’s Croydon Park. The 36-year-old Hoang was observed leaving a nearby McDonald’s restaurant shortly before 1:30am. Police have yet to identify any suspects but are looking to talk to two men seen in the area around the same time.
Hoang was the subject of a pending court case involving $1.5m in cash he was carrying on his person during a visit to Crown Resorts’ casino in Melbourne. Police alleged that Hoang’s cash was the proceeds of crime, given that Hoang had no verifiable source of income and hadn’t filed a tax return in the past 12 years. Hoang argued that he was a professional gambler who had also won $600k via two TattsLotto jackpots in 2013. Hoang owned no property in Australia, prompting a judge to deem him a flight risk and reject his bid to return to Vietnam before his case had concluded.
Hoang was a known high-roller at Crown Melbourne and at Echo Entertainment’s flagship The Star property in Sydney, from which he was eventually banned. Hoang also won $2.5m this year during a visit to SkyCity’s casino in Adelaide, New Zealand and was known to frequent illegal gaming houses, as well. Hoang is said to have wagered over $90m at Aussie casinos in just the past five years, $8m of which he reportedly left behind at Crown Melbourne, where he earned a $6.5k kickback for every $1m he wagered.
Hoang was also known to regularly carry cash in excess of $1m on his person, creating the possibility that his death was a targeted robbery. Other theories include the idea that Hoang’s death was connected to what police referred to as Hoang’s “well known” organized crime activities. On Wednesday, Hoang’s attorney told Fairfax Media that his client had never been accused in court of any such underworld ties.