World Cup Sportsbetting Indictment: Hui Tang Makes Bail, Released to Durrrr’s Custody
Another of the prominent defendants in the case of an alleged illicit sportsbetting ring being operated out of semi-private villas at Caesars Palace has been released following the successful procurement of the bail amount set by the presiding Nevada federal court. Hong Kong citizen Hui Tang, one of the eight defendants in the case, has been released into the third-party custody of pro poker player Tom Dwan following the successful raising of $1.5 million in bail.
Hui Tang’s bail amount was set on July 31st. The $1.5 million was significantly larger than the $500,000 amount that defense attorneys had requested, but is equal to that set for the two other most prominent defendants in the case, Wei Seng “Paul” Phua and Seng Chen “Richard” Yong.
Difficulties in procuring cash may have been part of the reason for Tang’s slightly delayed release, as the bond payment was not remitted until August 18th. Vegas attorney Lawrence C. Hill, one of the defense attorneys in Tang’s case, formally posted the bail on his client’s behalf.
The case involves the alleged operation of a massive sportbetting ring taking action on FIFA World Cup games during late June and early July, with a raid and subsequent arrests occurring after casino officials became curious about the purpose of large amounts of computer equipment and high-end internet connectivity demanded by the villas’ occupants. Phua, described as the ringleader of the operation and alleged to be a major figure in an Asian organized-crime group specializing in illegal sportsbetting activities, had been arrested weeks earlier in Macau and been rapidly deported before flying to Las Vegas.
Several of the defendants in the case are also participants in the well known high-stakes poker cash games held in Macau and other Pacific Rim venues, which attracted some of the world’s most famous poker players. In addition to Dwan, known widely in poker under his “durrrr” online moniker, other US-based pros who have played in the Macau games and who have helped finance bail, provide custodial arrangements or give character references for several of the case’s defendants include Phil Ivey, Daniel “jungleman” Cates and Andrew “good2cu” Robl.
As part of his release, Hui Tang also agreed to several additional conditions, including no gaming activities, no drugs alcohol or use of firearms, and constant electronic GPS monitoring. Tang will be required to live at Dwan’s Las Vegas home until the case is settled or comes to trial, and will be allowed to travel within Clark County, which includes Las Vegas.
Tang, 44, was also required to surrender his passport and to attempt to procure alternate travel identification, and like the other defendants, agreed to sign an extradition waiver. Of interest in the case is that prosecuting attorneys from the US Attorney’s Office in Nevada attempted to re-incarcerate the defendants and nullify the negotiated bond conditions after receiving an advisory from US customs and immigration officials that the waiver was likely unenforceable should the various defendants manage to leave US territory and return to their home countries.
How that differed from the many thousands of other cases brought in the US involving foreign nationals being considered for bond remains unclear.
Hui Tang is described in his motion for bail as working in commercial real estate in Hong Kong, and sitting on the board of directors of a “thriving real estate corporation,” Minglock. A search for an online presence for the company by that name was unsuccessful, although the name may refer to the Baoan Hongji Real Estate Group Co., Ltd. Baoan Hongji includes a Hui Tang on its board of directors as an executive deputy general manager and operates in nearby Guangdong province.
As for Tang’s presence in the villas where the raids and alleged illegal activity occurred, the motion for bond stated simply that, “Mr Tang came to Las Vegas Nevada to enjoy the city, do some gambling and watch the World Cup matches.”