Macau’s second-largest junket operator, Levo Chan Weng Lin, chairman and controlling shareholder of Tak Chun Group and co-chairman and CEO of Macau Legend Development, was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Friday after being found guilty of running an illegal gambling ring worth billions of dollars, according to local media reports.
The high-profile arrests and prosecution of Macau’s top junket bosses have occurred alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, which targets corrupt officials who may visit Macau to place bets and launder money
A group of Macau judges convicted Chan on 34 charges, including illegal gambling, managing criminal organizations, fraud, and money laundering. The illegal activities were estimated to involve a total of $4.5 billion, with Chan earning approximately $200 million. Chan denied the allegations during his trial.
This conviction follows the sentencing of Alvin Chau, Macau’s former “junket king,” who received an 18-year prison term for fraud, operating a criminal syndicate, and facilitating illegal bets.
In addition to cracking down on illicit junket operations, Macau authorities have introduced new regulations for the gambling industry and renewed concessions for six major casinos, subject to increased government oversight.
Macau’s leader, Ho Iat-seng, informed lawmakers days before Chan’s verdict that the government would soon implement a plan to diversify the city’s economy while maintaining the gambling sector’s share at around 40%.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Macau’s gambling industry generated annual revenue exceeding $36 billion, accounting for nearly 66% of the city’s gross domestic product.