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Phua Illegal Gambling Trial Put on Hold

The trial date for the father-son duo of high stakes poker player Wei Seng “Paul” Phua and Darren Wai Kit Phua has been postponed while a judge decides whether the constitutional rights of the pair were violated.

The elder Phua, 50, and 23-year-old Darren, were preparing for a January 12 trial date, but that date has been vacated without a new date set. The Phuas were charged with taking bets illegally during FIFA World Cup competition in July while staying at the Caesars Palace hotel in Las Vegas.

The case hinges on possible 4th amendment violations on the part of the FBI, who purposely cut off Internet access in the hotel in order to pose as repairmen and gather evidence in Phuas’ hotel rooms needed to obtain a search warrant. Those tactics certainly sound a bit shady, even to those of us who don’t possess a degree in law.

Law enforcement authorities contend that Paul Phua is tied to the 14K Triad, a Hong Kong-based crime syndicate that allegedly obtains a good percentage of its funds from illicit gambling endeavors. The attorneys for the Phuas have vehemently defended the pair on the gambling charges, pointing to the search strategy used by the feds as highly suspect.

Five co-defendants in the case pled guilty roughly two weeks ago to misdemeanor charges, and all avoided jail time. Sentences of probation along with rather stiff monetary fines were imposed. One defendant saw all charges dropped.

Paul Phua is said to be a regular in the high stakes cash game in Macau. His bail was apparently posted by other well-known players who have been known to participate in the Macau action at times, most notably Andrew Robl and Phil Ivey.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.