Mysterious High Roller and Suspected Money Launderer Peter Hoang Probably Murdered Over Unpaid Debt, Inquest Finds
Posted on: July 3, 2018, 12:00h.
Last updated on: July 3, 2018, 11:30h.
A Vietnamese high-roller shot and killed in Australia four years ago had many enemies, an inquest was told on Monday.
Peter Hoang, 36, was shot five times in the face on a quiet suburban street in Sydney in September 2014. No one has ever been charged with his murder.
The crime has law enforcement baffled, but it is also a mystery how the Vietnamese orphan and immigrant living in Australia on a refugee’s visa was able to transform himself into one of the country’s biggest gamblers with a penchant for Louis Vuitton suits.
According to court documents at the time, between 2000 and 2012, Hoang may have gambled close to A$90 million ($66 million) through The Crown Casino, Melbourne. At the time of his death, he was on trial for allegedly laundering A$1.5 million ($1.11 million) at the Crown, which prosecutors believed was from the ill-gotten proceeds of crime.
Whispers of Murderous Intent
According to Fairfax media, Hoang was well-known to police and was suspected of having ties to organized crime and of being involved in drugs and illegal gambling.
A witness, whose identity has been protected, said she had “heard rumors in the community” that Hoang was murdered over an unpaid debt, according to a police report. Another witness said Hoang was “nonchalant” about $67,000 he owed a shopkeeper, while yet another witness said he heard one of Hoang’s creditors threaten to “chop him dead.”
Despite this, leads have apparently dried up. Senior constable Peter Bain told the inquest he believed that an organized-crime associate lured Hoang to a McDonalds in Sydney’s Croydon Park area with a text sent to his encrypted Blackberry, later erased. Police also believe that more than one person was involved in his killing.
“These unknown persons lay in wait and murdered Mr Hoang,” said Bain.
“An unknown person ran at him from the nearby units and shot Mr. Hoang five times before jumping into the passenger side of a hatchback, believed to be white,’ he added. “Many residents heard shots but thought they were fireworks or a vehicle backfiring.”
Hoang Lost $8 Million at Crown
Hoang claimed at his money laundering trial that he was a professional gambler who had made millions from casino gaming. But Jennifer Nguyen, an executive host at Crown’s VIP Mahogany Room, testified he had lost A$8 million ($5.9 million) in the 12 years he had been one of its most “high-valued customers.”
The court also heard that Hoang had claimed A$50,000 ($36,000) in benefits from the state and that, in 2013, he won the weekly lottery draw twice, for A$600,000 ($430,000) in total.
State coroner Les Mabbutt said he will recommend the case be referred to the unsolved homicide police unit.
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