Police in Macau have arrested the operator of a ‘name and shame’ website that was posting the identities of individuals who had apparently failed to re-pay gambling loans.
The website, ‘Wonderful World’ was featured in gambling news after being closed down a year after it began.
Judiciary Police charged Charlie Choi Kei Ian, the founder and operator of the ‘Wonderful World’ website, with breaching data protection laws. If convicted, Choi faces up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of MOP 1.2m (US $150,000).
The Wonderful World website debuted last summer, featuring names and photos of around 500 alleged gamblers from various countries, along with the amounts they owed and personal details including phone numbers.
The site referred to the persons as rouges and robber; bounties were also offered to anyone whose actions led to the repayment of any of the listed debts.
Unenforced Debt Re-payment
A police spokesperson told Macau Business Daily that the authorities were still in the dark as to whether the individuals listed on the site incurred their debts via Macau’s junket operators.
Although gambling laws in Macau allow the activity, gambling is illegal on the Chinese mainland; meaning the courts refuse to enforce gambling debts.
In August, Choi bragged that his site had allowed creditors to collect many of the outstanding debts, around $25million, but denied that his site received any commission from said collections.
Despite Choi’s arrest and police orders to scrub the debtors’ personal info from the web, the Singapore-based website is still viewable online at 99world.
Choi has been described as uncooperative following his detention, leading police to slap him with a further charge of ‘disobedience.’
The police indicated that further charges may be laid against those who provided Choi with the debtors’ personal details.