Macau police arrested 15 men and 4 women, who were accused of operating illegal “pop-up” casino VIP rooms, fleecing millions from high-rollers in allegedly fixed card games.
Last week, police authorities busted a gang in Macau, which is believed to be part of a whole network of illegally-operating “pop-up” casino VIP rooms. The investigation started in June this year, after a man lodged a complaint against the VIP casino rooms in question. He explained that he had the bad luck to appear in these VIP casino rooms, being fleeced with HK$4 million, or almost $500,000.
The police explained that the group has been operating as far back as 2015, luring high-rollers to their VIP casino rooms, which were “masked” to look like a legitimate casino hub. On Wednesday last week, 19th July, the Judiciary Police raided a hotel in Macau, which led to the detention of 19 people in total (15 men and 4 women).
The officers said that the wrongdoers are all Chinese residents, who masterminded an elaborate plan to lure high-rollers to their perfectly “disguised” VIP casino rooms. The investigation is still ongoing, as the police believe that the arrested people are only a part of a bigger scheme.
The officials, who caught the group red-handed, explained that the plan, which the gang followed was perfect. All the involved members played their roles like actors in a casino scenario. It was reported that some were performing the role of dealers, others were the guards and VIP hosts. Macau’s public broadcaster, TDM even reported that there were 4 players and also potential victims of the gang, who were playing at the moment, when the police entered the VIP casino rooms.
The police also confiscated HK$75 million ($9.6 million) in chips and HK$200,000 (US$25,600) in cash. The seized chips were most probably given by the “casino” to the punters as a credit to play with, but these could not be cashed-in.
The offenders will face a number of charges, including criminal deception intended to result in financial gain.
This is not the first case, in which Chinese residents were accused of casino-related crimes. Earlier this month, 15 more Chinese residents were taken to court, being accused of illicit deeds, aiming financial gain.
It was reported that the rate of the casino-related crimes in the gambling Mecca Macau has significantly increased since the government imposed a severe anti-corruption crackdown on the so-called junkets, which aim to attract high-rollers by offering them free-cost travel to the particular casino.
Chinese authorities enforced the new rules almost three years ago, aiming to curtail the illicit gambling practices in Macau. But it seems that the measures stimulated the crime rate in the gambling venue and enhanced the shady dealings of the “triads”, which are offering players loans at extremely high interest, without being authorized from the local financial regulator.