More than 12 people claiming to be victims of the closure of the Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel,formerly known as New Century Hotel have filed a lawsuit against the Macau Hotel Developers Limited, as well as offshore company Victory Success Holdings Limited, which owns the hotel’s titles.
The information was announced on Friday in a press conference organized by the victims. Wu Keng Kuong, president of the Travel Industry Council of Macau, said that legal proceedings have already been commenced.
After a widely publicized ownership dispute, the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) announced the temporary closure of the hotel in July 2016, based on serious administrative irregularities, which constitute threats to public safety.
The measures were supposed to be in force for a period of six months, but the hotel remains closed.
According to Wu, the victims consist of more than 20 organizations and individuals from the tourism industry, who pooled their funds for the lawsuit.
Some of these, he said, are mainland businessmen who worked with the hotel to make the pre-sale hotel rooms.
We cannot contact the Macau Hotel Developers Limited nor the offshore company which is the hotel’s title owner.
Therefore, there is no other way for us to recover the losses but to resolve the issue by appealing, explained Wu.
Wu added that the group had previously reported and appealed to the Prosecution Office (MP) last September, following suspicions of a deliberate fraud occurring at the hotel, which violated the victims’ rights. To date, no results have been announced.
We hope that the government can give importance to what happened, in particular the victims’ rights, said Wu.
The group reminded related managers, title representatives, the government, and potential investors to pay close attention to the lawsuit in order to avoid unnecessary financial losses or similar legal entanglements.
The group is represented by lawyer Chan Wa Keong and expects a payout of more than MOP99 million, which they feel should be returned to the victims in view of the hotel’s unfulfilled contracts.
According to Wong, the convener of the lawsuit, the sum covers compensation for payments the group had previously made to the hotel, as well as for breach of contract.
The group also appealed to the court to invalidate a transfer deed signed by the hotel.
Wong said that a few victims had not joined the group but are seeking redress in other ways.
The Macao Government Tourism Office thought this was a commercial dispute, whereby we appealed to the Prosecution Office.
However, until today, we have not received any reply,said Wong about the government’s stance on the dispute.
On the sidelines of a press conference yesterday, around eight private investors claimed to have lost money when the hotel closed.
These individuals had invested money in seven to eight VIP rooms of the hotel’s Greek Mythology Casino, which operated under an SJM Holdings license.
A middle-aged woman surnamed Zhang revealed that when the hotel closed, more than hundreds of millions of Hong Kong dollars’ worth of deposits in the VIP rooms also disappeared.