Almost two full weeks after their arrest as part of an alleged illegal sports betting operation, both Paul Phua and his son Darren were released on bail late Monday night.
The $2.5 million required to free the Phuas was posted by Phil Ivey and Andrew Robl, who were regulars in the ultra-high stakes cash games in Macau along with Phua, Richard Yong and others. Paul and Darren Phua were two of eight people arrested on July 14 for their alleged roles in a worldwide gambling syndicate. Yong and his son Wai Kin remain in custody, though Ivey has pledged $500,000 towards Wai Kin’s bond, should he be released
US Magistrate Bill Hoffman announced Monday that the Yongs will have a hearing later this week to revisit his order of detention.
Paul Phua and Richard Yong were noticeable absentees from the 2014 $1 million Big One for One Drop after playing the inaugural tournament in 2012, and both Robl and Tom Dwan also declined to play the second time around. Trouble started several weeks prior for Phua, during a brief trip back to Macau.
June 18 – After spending several weeks in Las Vegas in early June, Paul Phua flies from Florida to Macau, where he’s arrested shortly after his arrival at one of the area’s casinos. Phua is one of 22 people arrested for taking illegal World Cup bets, though its unknown at this point whether either of the Yongs or Phua’s son Darren were among this group. According to arrest documents filed in the US District Court of Nevada, Phua is identified as being ‘known by law enforcement to be a high ranking member of the 14K Triad’, one of the largest criminal organizations in the world.
Phua posts bail, and he’s released two days later.
June 23 – Paul Phua returns to Las Vegas on his personal Gulfstream jet, whereupon he resumes residence in one of three villas at Caesars Palace that are occupied by the Yongs, the Phuas and Hui Tang, among others. Yong checked into one villa on June 6, Tang checked into a second on June 7, and Phua checked in and was listed as occupying a third villa from June 11.
The three rooms were wired up with an ‘unusually large’ amount of electronics equipment, including several desktop setups with three monitors apiece and a total of eight DSL lines.
July 3 – One of the IT technicians who helped provide technical support to the three villas is interviewed by various law enforcement officials, including agents from the FBI. The following day, one of Phua’s associates requests a brand new laptop and an FBI agent joins the technician in delivering the computer to the room. A butler assigned to Yong and Phua restricts their access to the suite, keeping them in the butler’s pantry as they set up the new computer.
On July 5, two FBI agents posing as technical support were allowed access to one of the villas and observed Phua with his computer open to SBOBET, an online gambling/sports betting website.
July 1 – Paul Phua flies to London, and returns on July 3.
July 9 – Search warrants for all three villas are authorized by US Magistrate Nancy J. Koppe, with FBI agents and Nevada Gaming Control Board agents executing those warrants the same day. Ledgers containing gambling records were seized, along with $33,441 in US bills and almost $500,000 in casino chips. Richard Yong was alone in one of the villas, while Paul Phua, Darren Phua and Wai Kin Yong were watching the Netherlands vs. Argentina match with several others in another of the rooms.
Equipment is seized, but no one is arrested at this time. Both of the Yongs and Phuas agree to brief interviews, during which Paul Phua states he invested $200 million in ‘Bet-IBC’, another Asian sportsbetting site, and claims another friend manages that site. Several of the seized computers had TeamViewer, a program that allows remote access of computers from anywhere else in the world, installed.
July 14 – Warrants for the arrests of eight people involved in this case are issued. Paul Phua, Darren Phua, Richard Yong, Wai Kin Yong, Hui Tang, Yan Zhang, Yung Keung Fan and Herman Chun Sang Yeung are charged with illegal transmission of wagering information and operating an illegal gambling business.
Dwan is with the Phuas as they are arrested, and later signs a sworn affidavit questioning the FBI’s tactics during the arrest.
Ivey, who along with Dwan, Robl and others played in super high-stakes cash games in Macau with Yong and Phua, posted $500,000 toward each of the Phua’s bail totals. Robl put up $1.5 million of his own money to cover the rest of Paul Phua’s bail, but as late as the night of Sunday, July 27, the Phuas are detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible deportation. They are released late Monday night, with Phua’s plane put up as a large portion of the collateral against him fleeing.
Both Richard and Wai Kin Yong remain in custody, detained as potential flight risks. Gabe Patgorski is prepared to allow both Yongs to live at his Las Vegas home under supervision as part of their release on bail, if granted.
Latest posts by Tim Fiorvanti (see all)
- Things Are Getting Real for Joe McKeehen on the Thunderdome Stage - July 14, 2015
- Justin Schwartz Seeks End to Dark Days with Deep Main Event Run - July 14, 2015
- Pierre Neuville Lives Post-Retirement Poker Dreams to the Fullest - July 13, 2015
- Moneymaker Legend Grows as Bruce Peery Takes WSOP Main Event Lead - July 12, 2015
- Justin Bonomo Chips Up, Busts His Friends Deep in WSOP Main Event - July 12, 2015