The arrests come a day after fire tycoon Alvin Chao was questioned by police in the Special Administrative Region.
Macau police said they have arrested 11 people in an investigation into an illegal gambling syndicate and money laundering, a day after businessman Alvin Chao, who organizes trips to Asian casinos for big-spending gamblers, was questioned at a police station.
Police said in a statement on Sunday that the people involved in the case admitted that the group operated gambling sites or telemarketing activities elsewhere.
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported that at a press conference on Sunday, Macau’s judicial police did not name the individuals but said they included a 47-year-old Macau businessman surnamed Chow.
It was not clear if this was Alvin Chao, chairman of Suncity Group Holdings Ltd. He is also the founder of a separate legal entity also called Suncity, the largest “server operator” in the Chinese Special Administrative Region, which operates VIP gambling rooms across Asia.
Junket operators are brokers who bring in big players to play in casinos, give them credit and collect their debts. Macau itself is known as the Las Vegas of Asia and has grown rich from the gambling industry.
The Suncity junket operator could not be reached for comment. Representatives of Hong Kong-listed Sun City Group Holdings cannot be reached by phone and have not responded to email inquiries seeking comment on the company or on behalf of Chau.
A spokesperson for Macau’s Judicial Police did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
Authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou said Friday that an investigation found that Alvin Zhao had set up a network of scrap dealers on the mainland to help citizens engage in offshore and cross-border gambling activities.
On Saturday, the Macao government said he had been taken to the police station for questioning, based on previous evidence and after receiving notification of the arrest warrant from mainland authorities.
GGRAsia, a news outlet on the casino industry in Asia, quoted a Suncity spokesperson as saying via email early Saturday: “All businesses are operating normally in accordance with the law and under the supervision of the Macao SAR government.”
Zhao is also a controlling shareholder in Sun Entertainment Group Ltd., a film production and cremation services company, which said in a stock filing on Sunday that its board of directors noted news coverage of investigations in Wenzhou and Macau.
“The Board would like to stress that the news coverage pertains to Mr. Zhao’s personal affairs. The Board considers that the incident has no material impact on the financial position, business or operation of the Group,” stated the filing.