Casino Sues Olympic Medalist Over $328k Gambling DebtMay 30, 2017 9:43 am
A Chinese 2-times Olympic gold medal winner is being sued by Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino in Hong Kong over S$454,375 (US$327,480) in unpaid gambling debts. Apparently, Kong Linghui borrowed S$1 million (US$721k) from the gambling venue back in February of 2015, and has since repaid just S$545k, with MBS now having filed a writ to recover the remaining balance.
News of the lawsuit is likely to spell big trouble for Kong Linghui, as gambling is illegal in China except on the island resort of Macau, with the country’s authorities frowning upon those who exhibit a fondness for the practice, either at home or abroad. As a result, the development represents a source of embarrassment for the government, with Kong Linghui having now been suspended as head of the women’s table tennis national team.
Since the news broke, however, Kong Linghui has insisted that he knew nothing about the outstanding sum, which he claims only to have learned about after the writ was issued. He also claims not to have gambled away any of the money the casino had credited to him, and that the situation is related to a time when he took some family and friends on a visit to MBS, and had provided his personal details to the casino in order to secure chips for his party.
According to Kong Linghui, he subsequently only watched the group gamble, and never took part in the action himself. In the meantime, Kong Linghui’s says it was a certain member of his group which rung up the “unsettled debts with the casino”, and as he explains:
“Someone apparently became embroiled in a financial dispute at that time, and now I am embroiled in a lawsuit.. [I]immediately asked the person to clarify the matter and I reserve the right to protect myself through legal means.”
Kong Linghui is considered one of China’s all-time best table tennis players, and between 1991 and 2006 earned 2 gold and 1 silver medals forhis country, earning him the nickname of the ‘ping pong prince’.