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Poker Pro Paul Phua and Son Released by ICE After Ivey Bailout

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:
Jul/29/2014
Poker Pro Paul Phua and Son Released by ICE After Ivey Bailout

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released the father-son tandem of Paul and Darren Phua late Monday after poker pros Phil Ivey and Andrew Robl posted their initial $2.5 million bail.  Both had initially been charged with running an elaborate World Cup betting operation from a swank Las Vegas resort.  ICE had immediately taken them back into custody upon their release and threatened deportation back to Malaysia.

The Phuas were two of eight individuals charged in the scheme.  The FBI claims that Paul Phua, 50, is a high-ranking member of the Hong Kong-based 14K Triad, one of the largest criminal syndicates in the world.  He is also a regular on the Macau high-stakes poker circuit.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Ivey is prepared to post another $500,000 cash bond and quite possibly up to $1 million for Wai Kin Yong, 22, another Malaysian citizen who describes himself as a professional poker player

Two more poker pros are said to be among those still in custody.

According to the Department of Justice press release:

“On or about June 18, 2013, Phua was arrested in Macau, along with more than 20 other individuals, for operating an illegal sport book gambling business transacting illegal bets on the World Cup Soccer Tournament. Phua posted bail in Macau and was released. The complaint alleges that on June 23, 2014, Phua arrived in Las Vegas to continue with his associates their illegal gambling business at a local casino. During early June 2014, three villas were reserved at a local casino at the request of Wei Seng Phua or one of his associates. Between June 6 and June 11, 2014, Phua and two of his associates…checked into the villas. Phua and his associates allegedly requested that the casino install an unusually large amount of electronics equipment in the villas to support eight Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) lines, and WiFi access.

“The casino installed and set up the equipment, but became concerned the equipment appeared to be a set-up for an illegal gambling operation. In one of the villas, computer screens were observed which looked similar to the ones in the casino’s sports book, including five stations and three monitors attached to each station. Each station’s computer tower was hooked up to a Century Link DSL line with voice over internet protocol phones. Near the computer stations, there were three large screen televisions with service from Cox, Dish and Direct TV, each of which was tuned to World Cup soccer games. The Nevada Gaming Control Board, subsequently determined that the set-up was similar to a ‘wire room’ where illegal wagers are made and monitored, and that the defendants were monitoring the World Cup and betting odds associated with World Cup soccer games in furtherance of operating a gambling business.

“Over the next month, law enforcement agents worked undercover and monitored the activity in the villas. On July 9, 2014, federal search warrants were executed at the three villas and law enforcement agents recovered gambling records, computer equipment, and other items. The defendants were arrested yesterday after it was determined that they were allegedly remotely controlling computers based overseas which allowed them to operate and manage their illegal gambling business from Las Vegas.”

- Ace King, Gambling911.com

 

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