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Macau junkets close out 2015 with two more entries in criminal scrapbook

TAGs: junket operators, junkets, Macau

kwok-wing-hung-attackMacau casino junket operators capped off their annis horriblis with a couple more incidents for the 2015 criminal scrapbook.

Last week, Macau’s Judiciary Police arrested a man who stole $157k from his junket partner in October 2013. The Macau Daily Times reported that the suspect admitted his guilt in the theft, which he said was motivated by greed.

The theft occurred after a gambling client of the junket pair won HKD 1.22m at a casino on Cotai. That same day, the client deposited his winnings in the junket operators’ bank account. The following day, the client asked the junket for his money, but the suspect decided to take the money and run, leaving his partner holding the bag and looking for justice.

Last Wednesday, the subject attempted to return to Macau from the mainland, leading to his arrest by border security. The suspect said he’d lost the stolen funds on his own gambling spree shortly after the theft, so while a jail sentence appears inevitable, restitution appears doubtful.

MYSTERY OVER ATTACK ON ALLEGED TRIAD BOSS
On December 21, Kwok Wing-hung, the alleged former boss of Hong Kong’s Wo Shing Wo triad with former ties to Macau VIP rooms, was rushed to a Hong Kong hospital after being attacked by an unidentified assailant at the Peninsula Hotel. Early media reports claimed the assailant – who remains at large – had attempted to stab Kwok with a seven-inch knife while later reports claimed the man had only punched Kwok in the face.

Kwok, nicknamed Shanghai Boy, was reportedly a partner in VIP rooms at both MGM Macau and Melco Crown’s City of Dreams but these operations were among the many VIP rooms that junkets opted to close this year as the Macau market imploded. Mainland media reports said Kwok also owed significant personal gambling debts to unknown parties.

Kwok had been scheduled to give a press conference on Tuesday but the event was called off at the last minute with little explanation. Kwok’s spokesman Ben Lam Tsz-pan said Kwok had received a letter from lawyers half an hour before the press conference was to start, but Lam declined to offer hints as to the letter’s contents.

An alternate explanation came from police sources, who told RTHK that one of Kwok’s associates had been attacked by five men on Monday. The similarly unexplained assault left both the man and his wife requiring hospital treatment.

The assault on Kwok has echoes of Macau’s bad old days, when junkets and their triad partners were notorious for gun battles in Macau’s streets. Those days were thought to be long gone until 2012, when the boss of the Amax junket was attacked by six assailants using – depending on which reports you believe – sticks and hammers or razors. If Macau’s downturn worsens in 2016, will such incidents become more commonplace?

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