Saturday, September 24, 2022

$36M Missing, Junkets Involved, Says Macau Police

Earlier this week, the Judiciary Police in Macau unveiled details regarding a case involving junkets that resulted in $36 million in missing proceeds.

Two Men Arrested, Police Say They Took Money from 18 Individuals

Police authorities in Macau said Tuesday that they arrested two men, allegedly involved in a criminal syndicate and fraud related to a significant amount of money. On March 29, two men were intercepted by police at Coloane and Horta Costa. The men were arrested and then transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office. They are now facing charges of fraud and criminal syndicate involvement. The recent report reveals that, overall, three men were allegedly involved in the operation but the whereabouts of the third individual remains unknown.

The arrest was the result of an investigation by the police authorities in Macau. According to a recent press release, 18 individuals confirmed to the Judiciary Police that they cannot withdraw their funds after using a VIP club, also referred to as a junket operator. Additionally, those people reported that the junket which they used stopped operating.

An investigation was launched and it found that the identified junket operator didn’t have a “legal junket promoter license, but only a private cooperation with a junket promoter.” The elaborate operation involved attracting wealthy customers for deposits. According to the investigation, the VIP junket was operated by three individuals that collected a monthly interest of 1% from the customers’ deposits. At some point, the operation attracted HKD280 million ($36 million). Then, the investigation found that allegedly the three men spend the junket funds as their own. In the end, besides taking the customers’ deposits, the trio decided to shut the VIP club.

Crackdown on Junkets Continues

For several months authorities in Macau have been cracking down on junket operators. Back in early March, police authorities arrested Public Security Police sergeant on suspicion of leaking internal information to a VIP gaming room about upcoming police raids. In exchange, the sergeant allegedly received money and enjoyed stays at luxury hotels. At the same time, his actions allegedly helped the VIP room continue its operations under the police radar.

Due to the ongoing crackdown on gambling, multiple gambling operators severed all ties with junket operators. Only recently, back in February, Las Vegas Sands became the latest company to cut all ties with junkets. Although gambling companies used to make huge profits from junket operators, it seems that authorities are getting closer each day to putting an end to the practice.

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