A shockwave was felt in Macau’s casino hub in November last year when their biggest casino junket operator Alvin Chau (周焯华) was arrested. The founder of Suncity Group had been charged for allegedly operating a cross-border gambling platform and money laundering.
Three months later, Alvin’s case has finally come to a close. The 48-year-old was convicted yesterday (18th January) and has been sentenced to 18 years in jail. While the news might have been distressing for those close to him, his former lover, Malaysian-American model Mandy Lieu (劉碧麗) seems unaffected.
Alvin’s trial initially began in September after a slight postponement due to 11 defendants being absent from the hearing. The investigation into Alvin’s operations was started after police reportedly obtained evidence of him illegally running casino operations in China. The police later detained Alvin and several others to ensure they would not escape as the crimes were deemed serious.
Upon his arrest in November, Alvin had been charged with a total of 289 crimes. This included fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling. However, Alvin’s trial mainly centered on suspected under-the-table bets worth 824 billion HK$ (~RM455 billion) spanning eight years. This reportedly cost Macau more than 1 billion HK$ (~RM552 million) in terms of tax revenue.
Yesterday, Alvin was found guilty of fraud, operating a criminal syndicate and running illegal bets. In total, he was convicted of 162 allegations. But, Alvin was acquitted of all charged involving money laundering. He was then sentenced to 18 years in jail.
Alvin’s current state is a far cry from the Macau casino “junket king’s” former status. After beginning his entertainment empire from scratch in 2007, Alvin’s life seemed to be smooth sailing. He was doing well-business wise; even managing to invest in several Hong Kong films. However, he had been best known for his tumultuous love life.
At the time, Alvin had been married to Heidi Chan (陳慧玲). But, he was also seeing Malaysian-American model Mandy Lieu on the side. However, he later gave up his relationship with Mandy to properly be with his wife. Still many assumed he still had feelings for Mandy as he paid her a ‘breakup fee’. Mandy however, apparently has no such emotional attachments.
The Malaysian-born model has since cut Alvin out of her life despite, some suspecting her of still having feelings for her old flame. After moving to the UK, Mandy has settled down with her three daughters and son. She currently resides at the Ewhurst Manor, worth 28 million pounds (~RM149 million), and lives a care-free life. From her socials, it seems Mandy greatly enjoys nature and all it has to offer.
Alvin’s group, Suncity had already shut its VIP rooms after his arrest in November last year. Notably enough, several other casino operators did the same. The closures indicated a shift in Macau’s casino industry, which had already been on a decline. There are reportedly only 36 junket operators left from the 100 that existed in 2019.