Wei Seng ‘Paul’ Phua is not a member of Hong Kong’s notorious 14k Triad. That’s the viewpoint of Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, as Phua’s defense team increased their efforts to free their client from the shackles of the Nevada legal system.
Whilst the world was sticking their Catherine Wheels on the garden fence, telling the kids they could stay up late, and learning the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne, The South China Morning Post (SCMP) was announcing details of the latest plot line to hit the story connecting Phua and his son to the alleged illegal sports betting ring that was busted in a Caesars Palace hotel suite back in the summer.
According to SCMP’s scribe Patrick Boehler, Phua’s legal team handed the United States District Court in Las Vegas an envelope marked ‘private & confidential.’ Inside that envelope was a letter from the Malaysian Home Affairs Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, claiming that Phua was not a member of Hong Kong’s 14K Triad group. The letter was addressed to Deputy FBI Director Mark Giuliano.
Mr. Phua is neither a member nor is he associated with the ‘14k Triad,’” wrote Malaysia’s Minister of Home Affairs, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. “Mr. Phua has, on numerous occasions, assisted the Government of Malaysia on projects affecting our national security and accordingly we continue to call upon him to assist us from time to time and as such we are eager for him to return to Malaysia.”
The letter was dated 18 Dec 2014.
It’s all starting to sound a little like an episode of the X-Files. All we need now is a cigarette-smoking man, a few nerds, and a smoking hot ginger woman and the cameras can start rolling.
The noise from the Phua legal team has been pretty consistent since their man was arrested back in July. They have always refuted his involvement with the 14k Triads, and have argued that the FBI used illegal means to gain entry into their Caesars Palace rooms to search the premises. A violation of the Fourth Amendment’s unreasonable search and seizure protections has been cited.
Phua was one of eight people arrested in connection with an alleged illegal sports betting operation that was being operated from various Caesars Palace suites rented by the group. It’s reported that the group earned over $13m in profit from betting on the 2014 FIFA World Cup prior to being shut down.
In early December, five members of the group reached plea deals (Yung Keung Fan, Herman Chun Sang Yeung, Hui Tang, Seng Chen Yong and Yan Zhang), and a sixth person, Wan Kin Yong, saw all charges dropped. That left Phua and his son Darren still contesting the charges laid before them.
The pair were set to have their date with destiny on 12 Jan 2015, but the date has been postponed whilst the judge decides whether the constitutional rights of the pair were violated as is suggested.
It’s not the first time that Phua hit the news this week. HighStakesDB.com recently revealed the biggest winners and losers of the 2014 online high stakes poker scene, and Phua finished as the sixth biggest loser in the game despite only playing 40 sessions.
His 6,303 hands of poker resulted in a loss of $823,325. That means he was losing $130.62 per hand, casting a little more light over why the likes of Phil Ivey and Andrew Robl would be so eager to post his $2m bail.
The case continues.