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Saturday, January 17, 2015

China corruption crackdown finds Macau sex ring

China corruption crackdown finds Macau sex ring

Alan Ho, nephew of casino magnate Stanley Ho, was arrested with five associates.
By Ed AdamczykFollow @adamczyk_edContact the Author | Jan. 16, 2015

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The Lisboa hotel and casino, one of the Ho family's holdings in Macau (CC/ Hotel Lisboa Macau)

MACAU , China, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The arrest of a business leader on prostitution charges in the Chinese city of Macau is an indication of China's growing corruption crackdown.

The former Portuguese colony, a gambling and resort destination, was ceded to China in 1999, and earlier this week, Alan Ho, nephew of hotel and gaming executive Stanley Ho, was arrested for allegedly operating a prostitution ring from his uncle's hotels. The elder Ho had a monopoly on Macau's gambling operations for over forty years; his SJM Holdings remains Asia's largest operator of casinos. Alan Ho's arrest comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping's sweeping crackdown on government bribery, embezzlement and other forms of corruption, designed to strengthen the authority of the Communist Party, has netted thousands of suspects and resulted in trials and jail terms. Casinos in Macau reported significantly less revenue in 2014, largely because Chinese business people and government officials were reluctant to book vacations ad gambling junkets to the city. "There is undoubtedly a new sheriff in town," Steve Vickers, a political risk consultant in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News. "This is consistent with President Xi's call for Macau authorities to show 'greater courage and wisdom' and to 'strengthen and improve regulation and supervision over the gaming industry.'" When visiting Macau in December, Xi commented the "fierce and enduring" fight against corruption would continue.

Alan Ho, 68, was arrested with five other hotel officials allegedly responsible for online recruitment of sex workers. Macau Judiciary Police spokesman Choi Iat-peng said a data base of 2,400 alleged prostitutes was confiscated, in addition to one million Macanese pacatas ($125,245) in cash. The Hong Kong business newspaper the Standard reported the prostitution ring had earned 400 million pacatas ($50.09 million) since 2013.

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