Date
19 November 2017
Charlie Choi has violated data protection laws by posting on the internet the names and other details of people who failed to repay their gambling debts, Macau says. Photo: weibo.com
Charlie Choi has violated data protection laws by posting on the internet the names and other details of people who failed to repay their gambling debts, Macau says. Photo: weibo.com

Macau acts against operator of website on delinquent gamblers

Macau’s Office for Personal Data Protection has launched legal proceedings against Charlie Choi Kei-ian, who operates a website that discloses information on delinquent gamblers, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

Choi runs a website called Wonderful World that reveals the identities of people who fail to pay up on their casino debts.

The name-and-shame website is said to have helped casinos recover about HK$2 billion of bad debts since it was established in August 2013. 

However, authorities have charged Choi with violating data protection laws. 

Choi, who is the chairman of Macau Gaming Information Association, believes the lawsuit is an attempt by the Macau government to sweep under the carpet the issue of gambling debt defaults in the city.

According to a chargesheet, Choi was ordered by the police in March and April last year to delete all personal data on his internet site that posted the photos, names, dates of birth and nationalities of delinquent gamblers and the amounts they owed to casinos. 

A letter was later issued to Choi in August indicating potential criminal consequences of not following the earlier order.

The first hearing of the lawsuit is scheduled for April 16.

Lai Changtu, a younger brother of Xiamen Yuanhua Group founder Lai Changxing, who had been jailed for economic offenses a few years ago, will be among six witnesses who will be summoned.

Choi, who faces two charges, may face two years in jail if he is convicted.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 30.

Translation by Vey Wong

[Chinese version 中文版]

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