A woman arrested in November as part of Macau’s Suncity investigation has been suspended and sentenced to nine months in prison for refusing to cooperate with authorities.
In a statement Monday, Macau’s judiciary police said the woman, identified only by her last name, “Ho,” had refused to answer questions during interviews. This was despite being informed by “the police and the Prosecutor’s Delegate of her rights and duties.”
Under Macau law, failure to testify without just cause is a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.
The woman was one of 11 people detained on November 27, along with Suncity chairman and CEO Alvin Chau, Macau Business reports.
They are being held on suspicion of criminal association, illicit gambling exploitation, and money laundering. If convicted, the 11 suspects face up to 12 years in prison.
Ho was referred to Macau’s Court of First Instance. At her sentencing, the judge noted that in addition to denying her transgression, she expressed no remorse for her actions. The suspended sentence is contingent on a “donation” of 5,000 pacatas (US$623) within the next three months.
The woman is believed to be one of Suncity Group’s senior executives, Macao News reports.
Casino.org has been unable to find any women at the company named Ho who fulfilled such a role. However, there is one high-level female executive with that name listed at a well-known Suncity subsidiary. But Casino.org is unable to verify that this is the same person mentioned in the police statement. “Ho” is a very common last name in the region.
The detention of Chau and ten of those who worked for him came just days after authorities in mainland China filed a warrant for his arrest, and it sent shockwaves through Macau’s gaming industry.
It signaled the end of the junket model in Macau that had once generated some 60 percent of revenues in the world’s richest gambling hub.
Out of Time for Junkets
Suncity was the biggest junket operator in the world. Chau had grown it into an international conglomerate, with interests in everything from real estate to resort development and movie production.
But Chinese authorities are waging a war against cross-border gambling and have run out of patience with the junkets. For years, they have supplied Macau’s casinos with a steady stream of wealthy Chinese mainlanders, lending them currency for gambling to bypass Beijing’s strict controls on the movement of money.
Meanwhile, many junketers have been dogged by rumors of criminal association. This includes Chau, whom Australian authorities believe was once a member of the 14K Triads under notorious crime boss “Broken Tooth.”
Suncity’s Macau junket branch, Suncity Gaming Promotion Company Limited, was officially wound up on December 1.
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