You have to admire the Australian firm Star Casino for the trust they have in their players.
But sometimes such a benevolent approach can have its drawbacks, and when they allowed Singapore billionaire Dr Wong Yew Choy to offer two blank cheques as collateral for his chips, it didn’t take a genius to work out how the story would end.
A well-known high roller in Asia, Dr Wong was invited to Star Casino in July 2018 – they even stumped up the cost of the private jet used to bring him over to Australia, and handed him a $140,000 VIP bounty to spend. Taking his seat at the baccarat table over a week-long period, Dr Wong went on to run up losses of $32 million – that’s approximately £24 million!
After his residence at the Gold Coast property came to an end, Dr Wong upped and left – allegedly without settling his bill.
Star Casino would make several attempts to get their hands on the money owed, but so far they have been unable to navigate the waters of international law – the courts in Singapore have been unwilling to entertain the matter.
A case brought in 2019 was staggeringly dismissed, with the judge citing Section 5(2) of the Singapore Civil Law Act – that basically states that the domestic legal system cannot be used to assist foreign firms in the pursuit of debts run up on international soil.
And so, more than three years later, the invoice remains unpaid.
Justice Down Under?
Now, Star Casino has turned their attention closer to home, and are attempting to force Dr Wong to pay up at the Queensland Supreme Court. Incredibly, the billionaire is fighting his corner – but his attempts to have the case thrown out have so far drawn a blank.
He has argued previously that dealers at the baccarat tables made a series of mistakes, and that he became so infuriated that he attempted to leave the casino. But he apparently persuaded by management to continue playing, safe in the knowledge that he would not be liable for any losses made. Wong even intimated he was ‘seduced’ by Star Casino VIP manager Teazel Yaw.
Wong’s legal team are also now arguing that Star Casino are ‘hedging their bets’ by trying their case in Australia – despite repeated failures to take their debtor to task in the international courts.
“Star’s conduct has occasioned unjustifiable oppression to him, and it has brought the administration of justice into disrepute,” Wong’s defence team have argued.
“He is again forced to confront the same allegations in a different proceeding….which constitutes the vexation inherent in Star’s conduct. This is a case where Star has engaged in ‘staged conduct’ of litigation using this court’s processes to ‘hedge its bets.”
But the Queensland Court of Appeal has dismissed Wong’s argument, and so he will now have to face the music after paying Star Casino’s legal costs. The case is expected to resume in 2022.