acau casino junket operator Suncity Group Holdings said Monday that chairman, executive director and controlling shareholder Alvin Chau Cheok-wa is not being investigated by Australian authorities and that the company has no business operations in Australia. He also has no intention to go to Australia in the next 12 months and is not aware of reported investigations of Australian casinos, a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange said.
Australian media reports said last week that Chau, the head of Crown Resorts' major junket partner, Suncity —the largest junket operator in Macau—, has been banned from entering Australia as investigators across the region investigate the Macau-based company's alleged links to organized crime, based on Nine media reports.
These reports have also led the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) to issue a statement warning about the grave organised crime risks associated with high-roller junket operations inside Australian casinos and pondering to initiate a probe into their operations.
“[Suncity Group] would like to clarify that Mr. Chau has no intention to go to Australia for the forthcoming twelve months and he is not aware of the said investigation of such Australian casinos. Mr. Chau further clarifies that he is not subject to any Australian investigation as at the date of this announcement," read the Group's note, as reported by Macau Business.
The filing also stated that this Hong Kong-listed company and its subsidiaries have ‘no business operations in Australia’. The listed company describes its business focuses mainly on the development of residential and commercial properties as well as leasing of commercial properties in Guangdong, Liaoning and Anhui Provinces, the People’s Republic of China, and providing hotel and integrated resort management and consultancy service and travel agency services.
However, the Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings does not cover any of the Macau junket operations held by Suncity Group, a privately held company also headed by Chau. Suncity is licensed by Macau’s gaming regulator for VIP play promotion in Macau through a company named Sun City Gaming Promotion Co Ltd., with the group running 18 VIP gaming clubs in Macau, and 14 VIP gambling clubs in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia.
In response to the allegations about Suncity and Chau, a spokeswoman for Suncity, Maggie Tang, said: "Suncity Group started to cooperate with Crown since 2014, and we are now operating one VIP Club in Crown Melbourne. Suncity offers VIP services such as transportation and accommodation arrangement to our guests who would like to travel to Melbourne, and Crown Melbourne.”
“In regards to your other questions, Suncity Group will not comment since they involve private and personal matters of Mr. Alvin Chau,” Tang said in a response sent to the Australian newspaper. Suncity also provides VIP gambling tours to casinos run by Crown's rival, The Star, according to The Age.
The Age reported that Chau has been blocked by Australian Home Affairs authorities from entering the country, according to official sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. But Crown Resorts is still allowing the junket to host its own high-roller gaming room inside Crown Casino Melbourne.
Leaked reports from the Hong Kong Jockey Club reveal club officials were briefed by "Australian Law Enforcement" in May 2017 about their concerns about Chau, The Age reported. Among the concerns was suspected "large-scale money laundering activities.''
"Suncity key personalities have demonstrated links to numerous triad societies and organized crime figures," said the intelligence report, adding that Chau and a colleague were reportedly members of the 14K triad society. "Other Suncity entities are connected to known triad figures," it found.