An alleged Triad gangster with links to casino gaming in Asia has been arrested after returning to Hong Kong following two years on the run.
Kwok Wing-hung, known to many as ‘Shanghai Boy’ from his role as a speculated boss of the Wo Shing Wo gang, has been a key figure on the Macau casino circuit, operating a series of VIP rooms in the Chinese region.
However, a rap sheet that includes allegations of money laundering, extortion and a host of other crimes has made Kwok a person of interest to the Chinese authorities.
He subsequently disappeared on the run, but was forced to return to his native country after believing he had contracted coronavirus in an undisclosed location. A Hong Kong newspaper has posted a separate take on events, claiming Kwok’s criminal ‘godfather’ had called him back to Hong Kong.
Sounds like the plot of a Hollywood movie, right? Sometimes, the truth really is stranger than fiction….
Murky Dealings and Suspicious Characters
There are a number of suspicious characters operating within the shadows of casinos all over the globe, but in Macau the percentage seems to rise exponentially.
Shanghai Boy, as Kwok is known through his gangland allegiances, apparently led the Wo Shing Wo triad for a number of years, and their interests extended to casino gaming – the 62-year-old was a ‘partner’ in VIP rooms at the MGM Macau and City of Dreams Macau.
Authorities had been looking for a way to take Shanghai Boy down, and after new information came to light – it was rumoured that he had made more than $13 million from illegal sports betting; not bad for a bloke whose business empire began in the 90s with pirating CDs – they arrested him for alleged money laundering back in 2017. Kwok’s day in court was due to come in 2018….but he soon disappeared without a trace.
A two-year spell on the run followed, with reports in the Chinese media suggesting he lived something of a playboy lifestyle in various European destinations, spending thousands on five star accommodation ad a harem of bodyguards.
But, as it has for all of us, coronavirus came along to shake daily life to its very core, and Kwok managed to contract the virus on his travels – or so he thought. Thinking that he needed urgent medical care and wanting to be in his home country should the worst happen, Kwok decided to take a risk on flying back to Hong Kong.
Kwok was intercepted at the airport as he touched down, immediately handcuffed and led away by authorities. And after taking a test, it turned out that he didn’t have COVID-19 after all.
He was quarantined nonetheless in a hotel dedicated to coronavirus isolators, and amazingly a Hong Kong court posted bail of just $25,800 – Kwok continues to live life as a free man until a scheduled court date in January, where he will be tried for two counts of conspiracy to wound with intent, another of conspiracy to cause criminal damage and a third of criminal intimidation.
You’d get short odds on this colourful casino character disappearing into the ether once more….