HONG KONG - Authorities have busted a prostitution syndicate in Macau, the world's biggest gambling hub, and arrested six people, including a nephew of gaming magnate Stanley Ho, media reported on Tuesday.
Those arrested came from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China. Ninety-six women from the mainland and Vietnam were also detained, Macau police said in a Jan 10 statement, but did not identify those arrested.
Alan Ho, who is a senior executive at Hotel Lisboa and a nephew of SJM Holdings' chairman Stanley Ho, and five hotel staff were among those arrested, the South China Morning Post newspaper said.
SJM officials were not immediately available to comment. A spokeswoman for Hotel Lisboa declined to comment, and a spokeswoman for the Macau Judiciary Police declined to identify those arrested.
Authorities said the syndicate had run for more than a year, generating a profit of 400 million patacas (S$67 million, US$50 million). Each woman had to pay a membership fee of 150,000 patacas (S$25,000) and a monthly "protection fee" of 10,000 patacas.
Gambling revenue in Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, fell 2.6 per cent to 351.5 billion patacas (US$44.1 billion) in 2014, its first annual decline since casinos were liberalized in 2001.
Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged Macau to hasten diversification away from its bread-and-butter casino industry, which has lost about $60 billion in market value over the last six months.