Macau Junket Suncity Denies Funding Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Rioters
Posted on: July 13, 2020, 11:08h.
Last updated on: July 13, 2020, 01:11h.
Macau super-junket Suncity Group has moved to quash online rumors that it supports the Hong Kong independence movement and that it has given financial backing to pro-Democracy protesters and rioters in the special administrative region (SAR).
In a rare public statement given by video link late Sunday, Suncity CEO Alvin Chau denounced additional rumors that the Chinese government is investigating the company’s mobile app. The app allowed authorities on the mainland access to sensitive information about its high-rolling clients.
He also dismissed talk on social media platforms that the Suncity VIP Club was unable to cover its clients’ financial deposits because of the economic pressures of the coronavirus.
‘No Investigation, No Data Breach’
Suncity is the biggest operator in Macau’s multibillion-dollar junket industry, which organizes casino trips largely for Chinese high rollers. It lends them gambling money so they can circumvent strict rules on the movement of cash outside of mainland China.
Under Chau’s stewardship, the group has grown into an international conglomerate, with interests in everything from real estate to resort development and movie production.
And while its core business model may not exactly endear it to the Politburo in Beijing, Chau denied the existence of a “nationwide anti-crime operation” that rumormongers had claimed was targeting Suncity.
He also assured Suncity’s wealthy clients that data had not been breached and their personal information was safe.
As an institution lawfully registered in Macau and regulated by the Macau Personal Data Protection act. Suncity Group is strictly forbidden to disclose any customer information,” Chau said.
“I think everyone knows that the mobile app is just software and no customer information is stored in the system, nor does it save customer information. Our server is placed in Macau. Here I can assure all of you, we have never encountered any leakage of information,” he added.
Chau said the company’s financial situation has been “very stable” throughout the coronavirus pandemic, adding it had enough capital to cover the chip deposits of all its clients and offset any bad debt.
As of a few days ago, Suncity had a cash flow in its VIP rooms of HK$18.6 billion ($2.4 billion). Fiscal reserves over the past 14 years stood at HK$10.58 billion ($1.4 billion), and there was HK$16.5 billion ($2.1 billion) in the bank, Chau said.
The figures offered a rare glimpse into the finances of the world’s biggest junket operation. While Suncity Group Holdings is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, this does not include its junket business, which means it is not required to disclose figures to investors.
‘Devoted to Motherland’
Chau deflected the “absurd and unreasonable” accusations that he had subsidized Hong Kong rioters by showcasing photos of various patriotic events in which Suncity had participated.
I was born and raised in Macau, and my company is also deeply rooted in Macau, with wholehearted devotion to the Motherland,” he said. “What would be my reasons for subsidizing Hong Kong rioters and why would I jeopardize my country?”
Twelve months ago, Suncity was denounced by Chinese state media for targeting mainland citizens with multibillion-dollar online gambling and proxy betting operations based out of the Philippines and Cambodia. Chau apologized for offending the Chinese government but also denied that Suncity operated online gambling.
On Sunday, he reiterated that his company has always complied with the laws of Macau and that none of its employees are stationed on the mainland in any gaming-related capacity. Nor had Suncity ever participated in any underground financial transactions, he said.
He condemned the “malicious intention” of rumormongers who sought to “undermine the economy of Macau.”
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