Thursday, April 15

The ‘Red King of Gambling’ owes $160 million, and that says everything about China’s problems

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shao dongming

By Linette Lopez


YouTube Shao Dongming is the CEO of Chinese property development company Dongding Investment, and he’s one of richest men in Shanghai.

He’s also known as the red king of gambling, infamous for going to Macau and making multi-million dollar bets with abandon.

Unfortunately his luck has run out.

Shao is being investigated for corruption in the country’s ongoing, far-reaching anti-corruption campaign. Specifically, the government is looking into the $160 million worth of gambling debts he’s racked up in Macau. According to reports, Shao refused to pay these debts when his creditors tried to call them in, and he reportedly even threatened representatives of his creditors with bodily harm.

His story is a reflection of a new China.

Two years ago, this probably wouldn’t have been a problem, but with a national anti-corruption campaign afoot in China — in which President Xi Jinping vowed to go after lowly “flies” and powerful “tigers” — and Macau’s casino industry going through a massive slowdown, there is no longer any tolerance for the red king’s excesses. MacaoKin Cheun/APPeople walk across a road in front of the Venetian Macao casino resorts.

There’s also little tolerance for his pride. A report from China’s NDTV noted that Shao bragged that “anyone creating trouble for him would end up in jail.”  He has close ties to the mayor of Shanghai, and he has held high-level positions within the Communist Party.

No matter. He’s still going to get a “stringent inspection,” according to the Party.
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