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Success in illegal casino prosecutions

Media release 6 July 2006

Success in illegal casino prosecutions

The conviction of five of six defendants on charges arising from the operation of an illegal Auckland casino is the final result of legal proceedings begun by the Department of Internal Affairs 18 months ago. These were the first convictions of their kind under the tighter controls introduced by the Gambling Act 2003.

Gambling inspectors and police raided the Khyber Pass premises of the Asian Associates Auckland Club and the Sunrise Cafe in January 2005 after New Zealand Customs staff alerted DIA to the importation of gambling chips and other gambling equipment.

Since then, five defendants have been convicted under the Gambling Act 2003 and a sixth had a charge of providing equipment for illegal gambling dismissed in the Auckland District Court.

An Yi Li, 45, of Albany was fined a total of $12,000 plus costs on three charges related to the illegal casino.
Fung Yeung, 54, of Highland Park and Chun Ping Cheung, 48, of Otahuhu were each fined a total of $8000 plus costs on three charges.
Yong Jiao Lu, 39, of Mt Roskill, was fined a total of $5000 plus costs on two charges.
Wilson Chee, 33, of Dannemora was fined $1500 plus costs on one charge.

Department of Internal Affairs National Casino Manager, Debbie Despard, paid tribute to the dedication, co-operation and work of DIA gambling inspectors, NZ Customs and Police in shutting down the illegal casino.

“Government agencies work closely together to curb this type of offending because illegal gambling can be associated with other criminal activity such as generating cash for drug trafficking,” Debbie Despard said. “While there was no such evidence in this case, New Zealand is not immune from criminals trying to get involved in gambling and we must remain vigilant.”

The illegal casino case began in September 2004 when New Zealand Customs staff at Auckland Airport found gambling chips with a face value of $480,600 and other gambling equipment being imported.

Customs advised the department, and gambling inspectors investigated. The chips and gambling equipment had been manufactured overseas specifically for this illegal casino, even having its logo printed on them. Inspectors tracked people involved with the illegal casino to two Newmarket addresses.

In January 2005 gambling inspectors and police executed search warrants at the two addresses. One of the premises consisted of a large lounge bar and four gambling rooms. It contained gambling tables, cards, chips, tiles and other gambling equipment for a wide range of Chinese and European casino table games.


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