Macau based and Hong Kong listed Jimei International Entertainment Group Limited released a statement to distance itself from its controlling shareholder and executive director Jack Lam after authorities in the Philippines issued an arrest warrant based on bribery and economic sabotage charges.
Authorities in the Philippines arrested more than 1,300 Chinese nationals after conducting a raid at the Fontana Casino and Leisure Parks which is located in Clark, Pampanga. The casino is owned by Jack Lam who allegedly was running an illegal online gambling operation and was using his Chinese employees to lure customers from Mainland China. The Bureau of Immigration and the PNP Special Action Force made mass arrests on the basis of breaching online gambling laws and visa regulations in the country.
Allegations were also raised against Jack Lam for attempting to bribe Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and Pagcor chairwoman Andrea Domingo in order to get them to protect the illegal online gambling operation at the Fontana casino. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the arrest of Jack Lam but the authorities were unable to make the arrest as Lam had allegedly left the country on a Cathay Pacific Flight CX918 bound for Hong Kong on November 29.
The case received a lot of publicity after China called on the Philippines to release its citizens who were not guilty of breaching the country’s laws. There were also speculations as to whether these mass arrests would once again cause political tensions between China and the Philippines. The negative publicity could hurt Jimei International who runs junket operations in Macau’s casinos as well as at the Crown Perth, Star and NagaWorld casino. The company is in the process of developing an integrated casino resort in Cambodia.
In a statement, Jimei International said ‘the Board confirms that the incident mentioned in the Articles relate to Dr. Lam is his own personal matter and in no way materially affects or involves the Company and its subsidiaries’. The company also stated that the gaming operations at the Fontana Casino was not part of the group’s operations.
The Bureau of Immigration has instructed all its personnel to be on the lookout and see if Lam does return to the country. According to the Inquirer, President Rodrigo Duterte has already cancelled Lam’s investor visa which is ‘pending resolution of deportation and criminal investigation.’ Lam denied allegations of bribery through his legal representative Raymond Fortun who stated that Lam only intended to meet Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to explain operations at the Fontana and convince Aguirre II that he was not violating any gambling laws.