Website names and shames gambling ‘debtors’
A dual-language Chinese-English website known in English as ‘Wonderful World’ is naming and shaming what it says are Macau casino gamblers that haven’t paid their debts.
The site doesn’t specify if the people have been gambling in VIP rooms or on mass gaming floors. Around 70 people are featured and listed by nationality. A head and shoulders photograph, a name, and a label accompany each entry for each person saying alternatively ‘hustler’, ‘liar’, ‘thief’, ‘cheater’, or ‘robber’. Some have the slightly less harsh label ‘rogue’.
Entries also include in many cases last known cell phone and or business telephone numbers and home and or work addresses for the people.
Also attached to each entry is a reference – with family surname only – of the person chasing the debt, and a local contact number.
The size of the alleged debt is listed with each entry, but the currency is not specified. The amounts allegedly owed range from ‘5,000’ to ‘1,000,000’.
A ‘bounty’ amount is also listed on the debtors’ profile that invites viewers to provide the person’s whereabouts to the creditors.
Macau’s Personal Data Protection Office told Business Daily via e-mail that the blacklist “is allegedly criminal”. It did not specify which privacy ordinances were involved or what part of the criminal code the blacklist might have violated.
“There are signs showing that the [blacklist] case is allegedly criminal,” the office said in its e-mail. It did not clarify who or what was making the allegation of criminality. But Business Daily has learned that the matter has been passed to the Judiciary Police for investigation.
Data protection and other privacy ordinances currently in force in Macau prevent companies from sharing personal data of individuals with third parties.
In March it was announced that gaming operator Wynn Resorts (Macau) SA had been fined 20,000 patacas (US$2,500) for breaching the privacy law by publicly disclosing personal information of hotel guests as part of a report on removed director Kazuo Okada. In April it was disclosed that gaming concessionaire Venetian Macau SA had been fined 40,000 patacas for breaching privacy law in a case linked to the export to the United States of data relating to the company's former chief executive Steve Jacobs. Macau casino operators have – via the Hong Kong Courts – successfully sued directly managed VIPs (i.e., non-junket customers) for defaulting on credit markers.
The Chinese version of the website – which also includes news and entertainment – says the blacklist is the “best publicity platform” to “help chase debts for the gaming sector” and “exercises deterring effect against cheaters”.
The website says it publishes the blacklist free of charge. It categorises the alleged debtors by place of origin and also includes personal details such as marital status and date of birth.
Business Daily contacted the website via a Macau number listed on it. The phone was answered by a person identifying himself as Mr Hou, who said was in charge of marketing.
He said: “I cannot comment on the legal issues because the operator [of the site] is away.”