CASINO

Suncity junket exec attacked by knife-wielding men in Hong Kong

TAGs: junket operators, suncity group

suncity-junket-exec-knife-attackA top exec for leading Macau casino junket operator Suncity Group narrowly escaped danger over the weekend after two knife-wielding assailants targeted the exec on the streets of Hong Kong.

On Tuesday, the South China Morning Post reported that Suncity’s chief investment officer Andrew Lo Kai-bong was attacked by the two men while leaving a sauna early Saturday morning. The 37-year-old Lo managed to make it inside his waiting vehicle unscathed but Lo’s 53-year-old chauffeur suffered wounds to his hand before slamming the car into gear and making good their escape.

On Sunday, Hong Kong authorities arrested three Hong Kong residents, including two men believed to have ties to the city’s triad gangs, in connection with the attack. The actual attackers are believed to be two non-Chinese men hired by unidentified parties to carry out the attack on Lo. The two non-Chinese men, as well as the suspected mastermind of the attack, remain at large.

Local police are still trying to determine the motive behind the attack. Lo reportedly told the police that he was targeted following a “business dispute,” but has otherwise remained tight-lipped. Police aren’t yet sure whether the attack is related to Suncity’s gaming operations or some other reason.

The rough-and-tumble Asia-Pacific junket industry is clearly not for the faint of heart. In 2012, Ng Man-sun, the head of the Amax Holdings junket business, was attacked by unknown assailants at Macau’s New Century Hotel. The assailants reportedly cut tendons in Ng’s legs and arms in what was described as a traditional triad means of sending a message.

In 2015, a reputed triad boss with former ties to Macau VIP gambling operations was attacked by an unidentified assailant armed with either a seven-inch knife or just his fists, depending on which reports you choose to believe.

In addition to its Macau operations, Suncity also has a major presence in the Philippines, including deals with Manila casinos as well as its Philippine-licensed online gambling operations, and Suncity is also a joint venture partner on a new Vietnamese integrated resort casino project.

Suncity is one of the few junket operators, along with Guangdong (Neptune) and Tak Chun, to have weathered the sharp contraction of Macau’s junket industry that accompanied the gaming hub’s two-year-plus VIP gambling decline.

But JP Morgan Securities Asia issued a report earlier this month saying that so-called ‘mid-sized’ junkets like David Group, Hengsheng Group and MegStar had recently opened new VIP rooms in Macau casinos and were slowly chipping away at the big three’s market share. The expansion corresponds with Macau’s VIP market posting double-digit gains for two straight quarters.

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