Renowned Hong Kong businessman and high stakes poker player Paul Phua remains in custody in the United States today despite friends and fellow poker players Phil Ivey and Andrew Robl posting US$2.5 million in bail on the weekend.
Phua, his son Darren and another well-known poker playing businessman Richard Yong were among eight people arrested at Caesers Palace in Las Vegas on July 13 on suspicion of running an illegal World Cup football gambling ring. Less than a month earlier Phua was one of 20 people arrested in Macau on similar charges, but had flown to Las Vegas on his private jet after being released on bail.
Ivey and Robl posted the US$2.5 million in cash last week to bail out the Phuas but the father and son were nabbed by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents before they could be released and moved them to the Henderson Detention Centre where they are still being held. They have been accused of accepting a total of HK$2.7 billion in illegal bets on the World Cup, while the FBI has also alleged that Phua is a high-ranking member of Honk Kong’s 14K Triad.
Paul Phua is a well-known figure in Macau, where he began running junkets for Sheldon Adelson’s Sands in 2005 and holds or has held shares in a number of other gaming-related companies. He has also been a regular in the huge cash poker games that run in Las Vegas and Macau alongside the likes of Ivey, Robl and Tom Dwan, who is reported to have been present when agents raided Phua’s Caesers Palace villa. Dwan wasn’t arrested and hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.
Phua’s other poker achievements include winning a High Roller event in London in 2012 for over US$1.6 million and a third place finish in another High Roller event at last year’s WSOP A-PAC for US$340,000.