Wu Peici couldn't marry into a wealthy family, and became an underworld force
Author | Nanfeng Window reporter Runran
Ji Xiaobo, who once ran one of the most successful casinos in history, made the well-known actress Wu Peici willingly give birth to four children for him.
The former "Saipan gambling king" rarely appeared in public, especially after Zhou Zhuohua and Chen Ronglian were arrested one after another, and disappeared.
Recently, Ji Xiaobo's aunt Cui Limei was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months in prison as a key member of the criminal group, and he himself was designated as the leader of the evil gang.
The counterattack of the stacker
On November 24, 2023, a notice from the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court showed that the malign criminal group led by Ji Xiaobo had been smashed by the public security organs.
Source: Official account of Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court
Ji Xiaobo's aunt Cui Limei was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months in prison and fined 200,000 yuan as the main member of the gang.
Although Ji Xiaobo's name was not clearly named in the notice of the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, and only "Ji Moumou" was used as a substitute, Cui Limei mentioned in the notice was the sister of Ji Xiaobo's mother Cui Lijie, and many media also clearly pointed out that "Ji Moumou" was Ji Xiaobo.
Like Ji Xiaobo, who was born in a stacking yard, there are many stories of counterattacks from contracted gambling halls to love actresses. This kind of person is very mysterious, the cultural level is not high, and after making a fortune in a low-key manner, he quickly stood at the peak of wealth, An Yixuan's husband Chen Ronglian and Zhao Wei's husband Huang Youlong are all like this.
Many people who don't go to Macau to gamble don't know how famous Ji Xiaobo used to be, but they know that actress Wu Peici is his girlfriend for many years. The two had two sons and two daughters, but they never married.
Wu Peici and Ji Xiaobo
Ji Xiaobo, whose hometown is Harbin, has only a Chinese degree, and in his early years, he and his mother Cui Lijie got rich quickly through lending, investing in real estate and pawnshops, and went to Macau with his mother in 2009.
By being a stacker, Ji Xiaobo gradually emerged in the Macau gambling industry. Stackers, also known as casino junkets, are at the heart of Macau's gambling industry's vast flow of money.
Macau's gaming industry is specifically divided into VIP baccarat, baccarat and gaming machines. Among them, the baccarat business, that is, the midfield business, is oriented to mass customers and does not require intermediary involvement.
The VIP room serves ultra-high-net-worth individuals and contributes ultra-high income. VIP rooms need to work with intermediary companies, and Stacker does this - finding customers, encouraging them to gamble at the casino, and helping them open accounts and deposit funds. Many junkets also lend money to gamblers, and the junkets earn high interest rates from them.
Each junket has a large number of stackers to help it attract customers. Xi Mihua was the largest gaming junket company in Macau, with 12,000 stackers under his hands. Chen Ronglian's Dejin Group is doing the same business. In his early years, Ji Xiaobo helped gamblers with equity pledge financing to repay gambling debts.
A big guy summed up the business experience of stacking yards - if you don't gamble and can attract customers, you will be the most profitable person in the entire casino.
In 2011, a Macau casino junket company called Hengsheng began business, and the actual owner of this company was Ji Xiaobo.
He also caught up with a good time for Macau's gaming industry to rise. In just two years, Hengsheng has become one of the most profitable casino junkets in Macau.
Hengsheng's business has expanded rapidly from a VIP room and 12 gaming tables to large casinos such as Wynn, Galaxy, Sands Cotaine, MGM and Venetian, with 7 VIP rooms and 86 gaming tables.
Streets of Macau/Source: Picture Worm Creative
According to the data, Macau's gaming industry reached a new height in 2013, and in October 2013, Hengsheng's gambling volume reached 39 billion Hong Kong dollars that month.
Ji Xiaobo's business is getting better and better, and his fame in Macau is growing. In September 2013, Ji Xiaobo's family spent 300 million Hong Kong dollars to buy First Natural Foods, a Hong Kong-listed company, in the form of "buying a shell", and then transformed the main business of this listed company from food to gaming through the acquisition of a gaming junket company.
Soon after, the publicly traded company changed its name to Imperial Pacific.
The backdoor listing made Ji Xiaobo famous.
However, since June 2014, Macau's gaming industry has continued to decline after explosive growth and gradually entered a downturn.
At the end of November 2021, Zhou Zhuohua, the actual controller of Macau casino group Suncity, was arrested, which brought a huge shock to the Macau gaming junket and VIP hall industry. In January 2022, Chen Ronglian was also arrested by the Macau Judicial Police.
Zhou Zhuohua/Source: Visual China
Macau's gaming industry continues to fluctuate, the main reason for which is the high incidence of casino crimes. For example, overseas gambling criminal groups are tempted by high returns, recruit domestic personnel to become agents, and then the agents organize domestic citizens to gamble abroad, resulting in a large amount of capital outflow.
Ji Xiaobo claimed to have left the gambling hall business, and in December 2021, he entrusted a lawyer to issue a statement saying that he had completely separated from all businesses of Macau Hengsheng Company as early as 2015. Macau gaming junkets were once one of Imperial Pacific's businesses before being divested.
Judging from the report, the incident of Ji Xiaobo's gang is mainly related to organizing and soliciting Chinese citizens to gamble abroad.
According to the report, between 2008 and 2021, in order to seek illegal benefits, a malign force criminal group with Ji Moumou as the ringleader and the defendant Cui Limei and 15 others as members repeatedly carried out illegal and criminal acts such as organizing and soliciting Chinese citizens to gamble abroad, picking quarrels and provoking troubles, illegally trespassing into residences, and collecting illegal debts in Beijing and other provinces and cities.
However, the circular did not disclose in detail the facts of Ji Xiaobo's gang's crimes in the mainland. The notice of the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court said that Ji Moumou would be dealt with in a separate case.
Macau's new gaming law imposes more detailed and stringent regulations on the business of junket promoters, and now VIP rooms have all but disappeared.
The gambling kingdom of Saipan
Ji Xiaobo once built his own "gambling empire" on Saipan, and its development was considered a "myth" at the time.
In order to have their own casino and make more money, Ji Xiaobo's mother and son set their sights overseas, and they began to search for locations around the world where they could develop casinos. Saipan in the Pacific Ocean came into their sights.
Located in the western Pacific Ocean, Saipan is the largest island in the Northern Mariana Islands. The archipelago is an overseas self-governing state of the United States, and Saipan is the closest U.S. territory to China.
What's more, the Saipan government will only issue an exclusive gambling card. In August 2014, Ji Xiaobo successfully won the exclusive gaming license of Saipan, and since then, Saipan's casino business has been fully integrated into Imperial Pacific.
Ji Xiaobo and the then Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands, Ralph Torres/Source: Wu Peici Weibo
At this time, Macau's gaming industry began to show signs of decline. And the new path opened up by Ji Xiaobo ushered in unprecedented opportunities. A good sense of business, coupled with a bit of boldness and a bit of gambling, tends to form an invincible sense of self.
Even though Saipan's infrastructure is outdated and hotels and resorts have not yet been built, Ji Xiaobo has built a temporary casino and will be the first to put it into operation.
In 2017, the casino project of the Beauhua Saipan Resort was gradually opened. According to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek, in the first half of 2017, Imperial Pacific's cash receipts were almost six times that of Macau's most luxurious casino.
According to the data, Saipan does not levy a gambling tax, and the tax concessions are quite obvious. So Ji Xiaobo can use better commissions to attract intermediaries and tap customers.
Model of the Bohua Palace Hotel in Saipan / Source: Bohua Palace Hotel Weibo
At that time, Saipan, a new generation of gambling resorts, attracted the attention of some "gambler" entrepreneurs in the mainland, including Liu Lirong, chairman of Gionee Group, who went on vacation in name but in fact to gamble.
In 2018, Liu Lirong personally admitted that he was involved in gambling, and the location was Saipan, and he lost more than one billion yuan before and after.
Later, when Liu Lirong faced the media, he was annoyed by his gambling behavior. "Gambling on this thing really can't be touched, and one misstep will become a thousand hatreds. It's not just about how much money is involved, it's about characterizing your character and bankrupting one's personality. ”
The edifice collapsed
Every time there is a new upstart in the gambling industry, he will be crowned with the title of "gambling king", and Ji Xiaobo's boldness and success make him known as the "Saipan gambling king" and "island owner".
But not every stacker can sit back and relax after counterattacking, and this title often becomes the beginning of their end.
Saipan's glory days were short-lived, and the outbreak of the pandemic directly crushed it. Due to the pandemic, Sinoexpo's Saipan casino has been temporarily closed since March 17, 2020, and Sinoexpo has lost its source of revenue since then.
Although it is closed, the licence fee has to be paid as usual. On April 23, 2021, the Federal Casino Commission of the Northern Mariana States notified Sinoexpo that it was suspending the developer license of its casino resort and requiring them to pay $15.5 million in license fees, $3.1 million in casino regulatory fees, and $6.6 million in fines.
In April 2021, Imperial Pacific issued an announcement that the licenses of its hotels had been suspended and that it owed license fees
In Sinoexpo's view, after the outbreak of the epidemic, the casino began to close for a long time in March 2020 to cooperate with the local government's anti-epidemic measures. The new crown epidemic constitutes a natural disaster or force majeure, and there is no need to pay an annual license fee, which is why this license dispute arises.
Under the dispute, Ji Xiaobo's overseas casino business became difficult. Saipan's gambling industry is in a slump, with a rapid loss of major customers. Since 2022, Sinoexpo has also been suspended for a long time. In January 2022, Ji Xiaobo reduced his holdings of Imperial Pacific's convertible bonds, worth 3.5 billion shares of Imperial Pacific.
Now Imperial Pacific has become a "penny stock" and is facing a delisting crisis.
In fact, before the epidemic, with the fall of a number of high-ranking officials and wealthy businessmen, Ji Xiaobo's business map was on the verge of collapse.
In the early years, Ji Xiaobo was quite active in the Hong Kong capital market, falling in love with female celebrities, and relying on bigwigs to carry out a series of capital operations. In the reports on the cases of Wang Bin of Taiping Group and Lai Xiaomin of Huarong, Ji Xiaobo can be seen.
According to the data, in 2018 and 2019, Imperial Pacific suffered a total loss of more than HK $6.869 billion.
From 2017 to 2021, the company's performance summary / Source: Imperial Pacific 2021 Annual Report
Ji Xiaobo's economic state is much worse than before, and it can be said that he is mired in mud. On the streets of Hong Kong this year, there are also posters of Ji Xiaobo being collected for debts, and the poster is a big portrait of Ji Xiaobo, with the text "Don't call me a gambling god, call me a dead man".
From a "worker" in a casino to a gambling king in Saipan, Ji Xiaobo has been gone for more than ten years. But the collapse of the edifice was only a matter of moments.
Wu's last Saipan-related Weibo post was on November 10, 2019, in which she showed some pictures of the Saipan hotel project, claiming that she was also involved in the design. Her few public statements since then have also been to prove that Ji Xiaobo is not in financial crisis.
Source: Wu Peici Weibo
The facts cannot be hidden.
Behind illegal wealth, on the one hand, the abnormal flow of funds will eventually lead to the deformity of the national wealth structure, and on the other hand, countless gamblers will bring vicious wealth growth values, which affect countless people and families.
Duty Editor | Jiang Jiang
Typography | Qianwen
Produced by Nanfeng Window New Media
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