Macau Arrests Second Junket Boss on Money Laundering Charges

Macau’s casino industry is under scrutiny again with the arrest of the head of the city’s second-biggest junket operator.

Macau Legend Development Ltd. said chief executive officer Weng Lin Chan has been detained by police, according to a statement Sunday from the listed hotel group. Chan is also chairman of junket operator Tak Chun Group.

Macau’s judiciary police said earlier in the day they arrested two men including a 49-year-old surnamed Chan on suspicion of money laundering and illegal gambling activities.

Macau Legend Development said it doesn’t expect Chan’s arrest to have a material impact on its daily operations, according to an exchange filing.

China has been clamping down on activity by VIP punters in Macau, the world’s largest gaming market, over concerns that the high-stakes betting there can sometimes be an illicit channel for currency outflows and money laundering. Macau police in November arrested Alvin Chau, CEO of Suncity Group, one of several operators of so-called junkets which extend credit to high rollers.

Some casinos in Macau had already decided to close VIP gambling rooms run by junkets after Chau’s arrest, people familiar with the matter said in December.

The number of licensed junket operators in Macau has fallen to just 46 this year, from 85 in 2021. The People’s Bank of China said last week authorities will begin a new nationwide campaign on money laundering, raising uncertainty over where government agencies will strike next.

Author: Sofia Horta e Costa, Bloomberg

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