Hong Kong Company With Potential Criminal Links Holds 25% Stake in Star Casino

  • Chow Tai Fook is the shareholder in question for the casino project in Queensland
  • Laws are in place that prevent businesses from having associates that are of ill repute
  • Queensland Attorney General Shannon Fentiman plans to investigate the allegations
  • The Cheng family had a major role in the growth of Macau’s casino sector
Investigation board
A major shareholder in a Queensland casino resort project has alleged links to organized crime. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Raising certain questions

One of the biggest shareholders of Star Entertainment’s Queen’s Wharf Brisbane casino resort in Queensland could have links to organized crime. An investigation by ABC News revealed that the Chow Tai Fook company that received approval from the Queensland government in 2015 to be a partner on the new Star Entertainment AU$3.8bn (US$2.6bn) casino project possibly has such shady ties.

did not accuse Chow Tai Fook or the Cheng family of any sort of criminal activity

The probity adviser who assessed the potential partners in the casino project claims that he was not aware of the company’s possible links to crime at the time of judging its suitability. ABC did not accuse Chow Tai Fook or the Cheng family of any sort of criminal activity, but the media company believes that questions need answering regarding the role of Chow Tai Fook in the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane casino resort.

Looking into the allegations

Chow Tai Fook is also the owner of half of the towers of apartments surrounding the casino and receives a commission for all VIP gamblers that it directs to the venue. The Queen’s Wharf property is set to open next year.

any new information coming to light will be subject to investigation

Laws are in place that prevent businesses from having associates that are of ill repute. Current Queensland Attorney General Shannon Fentiman, the head of the casino regulator in the province, labeled the allegations from ABC’s investigations as “incredibly concerning.” She went on to say that any new information coming to light will be subject to investigation.  

ABC Investigations revealed in its report that Chow Tai Fook and some of its associated companies have links to organized crime in China that date back decades. Some of those connections include Macau gangster Wan Kuok Koi and former junket kingpin Alvin Chau.

Concerns over possible criminal links

The revelations from ABC come to light just before an inquiry begins on Tuesday in Queensland to look at allegations that Star Entertainment ignored criminal infiltration and money laundering in the province.

The Hong Kong-based Cheng family controls Chow Tai Fook. The family originally made its fortune through property developments and jewelry stores before partnering with Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho in the 1980s. They were key drivers in turning Macau into the world’s biggest gambling hub.

Casino operators in Macau used to regularly deal with organized crime groups to collect debts from high rollers who played on credit. That often paved the way for other types of crime, including drug trafficking, violence, and loan sharking. Authorities across the world have conducted their own investigations into the Cheng family’s operations in Macau.