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The instigator was a John Gotti-like figure – ‘Broken Tooth’ Wan Kuok-Koi.Head of the powerful 14K Triad, Wan has limited use of his fingers following a meat cleaver attack and made $6 million a month from the casino skim.
Filled with shame and loathing Du stands up from the table.The usual suspects are here to cash in on the losses: the investors, construction companies, champion poker players, VIP fixers – and, of course, the money-laundering gang chiefs.Most of the investors are here direct from Las Vegas.As the world endures a dull Wednesday night, the room is buzzing with action.Games of baccarat are in play at hundreds of green baize tables.The casino is ringed by a luxury shopping mall, which is crossed by a series of swimming-pool-blue Venetian-style canals that link into a mini St Mark’s Square.
It’s an exact replica of the replica that exists at the sister hotel in Las Vegas.
Today, the skyline is filled with bare concrete hulks, but by 2010 the work should be complete and Cotai will offer 20,000 luxury hotel rooms.
Meanwhile, a new road – including an 18-mile bridge – will link Macau, Zhuhai and Hong Kong.
This is Italy designed by Americans and transplanted to Asia.
But amid the glitz and faux glamour there are darker forces at work.
While Wynn Resorts and MGM have built new properties among the old casinos on the main Macau peninsula, the most significant expansion is taking place on the outlying island of Taipa, accessed by a mile-long road bridge.