Archive for the ‘Macao’ Category

In China: Pillaging State Money to Gamble, Play

January 15, 2009

As mayor of a small city in the Chinese hinterland, Li Weimin started out innocently enough, playing the slots in nearby Macao, games with names like Five Dragons, Chinese Kitchen and Super Happy Fortune Cat.
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By Mark McDonald
The New York Times

But he soon began to try his hand at other games, and for higher stakes, financing his increasingly frequent trips to glitzy casinos by dipping into the municipal budget and several real estate firms under his control.

“It was easy for me to borrow or divert money from those places,” the 43- year-old Mr. Li said at his trial, according to a state-run newspaper, China Daily. Eventually he lost $12 million and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Above: Officials are now limited to just one trip every three months to Macao, home to casinos like this one in the Four Seasons Hotel. Photo: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg News

Mr. Li is one of an increasing number of Communist Party bosses and government officials who, government prosecutors say, pillaged state funds, company accounts and municipal treasuries to try their luck in Macao, which sits just across the border from Guandong Province.

Many of the biggest losers have been sent to prison and at least 15 have been executed. Some have committed suicide. The scandals have become a source of deep embarrassment for the Chinese government, which has now begun cracking down on travel visas for Macao.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01
/15/world/asia/15macao.html?_r=1&hp