Casino, junket and online gambling operator Jack Lam has reportedly sent out ‘feelers’ regarding his willingness to return to the Philippines to face charges of bribery and economic sabotage.
Lam (pictured) fled the Philippines on November 29, just days before Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his arrest. Lam has been accused of illegally operating online gambling out of his Fontana Casino in the Clark Freeport, and attempting to bribe Philippine officials to look the other way.
On Wednesday, local media quoted Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa saying Lam “has feelers to surrender. He will return back here to the country.” Dela Rosa declined to specify through what channels these feelers were sent or pin down Lam’s current whereabouts, saying only that “he will surrender.”
CEZA DENIES ISSUING LAM ONLINE LICENSE
Lam, who founded the Jimei Group junket operation, saw his Fontana Casino and the Ford Ilocandia casino in Ilocos Norte province closed this week on direct orders from Duterte. The Fontana’s online gambling operation, which reportedly offered online and telephone proxy betting to bettors on the Chinese mainland, was also shut down.
Last week, Lam’s attorney Raymond Fortun claimed that the Fontana online gambling business had received a license from the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II told reporters that CEZA has denied issuing Lam a license to run online gambling from the Fontana.
The Inquirer quoted Aguirre saying CEZA “has not authorized any of its operators to set up office or any of its operations in the Clark Freeport. It is very apparent that some foreigners are violating our laws. We will not tolerate that.”
Lam had issued a ‘sub-license’ to Chinese firm Next Games Outsourcing Inc for the online operation. On Monday, the PNP reportedly shut down a similar online operation at Lam’s Ilocandia casino.
Lam’s downfall began when Philippine authorities raided the Fontana on November 24, arresting 1,316 Chinese nationals working illegally in the country. Aguirre later claimed Lam had offered Bureau of Immigration officials lucrative bribes for the release of the Chinese workers.
Aguirre also claimed that Lam offered him (through intermediary Wally Sombrero) money to act as a ‘godfather’ for Lam’s gaming interests in the Philippines, while Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation chief Andrea Domingo was allegedly offered similar perks to permit the Fontana’s online operations to continue.