Imperial Pacific International's Honcho is known as a "criminal boss" in China

Ji Xiaobo, one of the owners of Imperial Pacific Saipan Casino and Hengsheng Group, has been named a crime boss by a Chinese court.

Apr 8, 2024
2 min read
Kat and partner Pace Wu. The former fixer is now a fugitive from Chinese justice and is rumored
Kat and partner Pace Wu. The former fixer is now a fugitive from Chinese justice and is rumored to be hiding out in


Limited offer

Learn more

Imperial Pacific International's Honcho is known as a "criminal boss" in China

The developer of a controversial casino resort project on the US island of Saipan has been named a "criminal syndicate leader" by a Chinese court.

The missing Ji Xiaobo and his mother Cui Lijie jointly control Imperial Pacific International (IPI). Since 2016, IPI has been building a colorful rococo game palace on Saipan, the largest island in the Northern Mariana Islands in the northwest Pacific, and the project is currently on hold.

The project was plagued by a series of serious labor violations, missed deadlines, lawsuits and federal corruption charges. IPI is now out of money and owes the federal Casino Commission (CCC) over $100 million in licensing and regulatory fees.

According to Singapore's "8 World News", on November 24, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court charged him with multiple crimes including collecting illegal gambling debts through violence and threats, and illegally breaking into private homes.

The court sentenced 15 members of Ji's organization to fixed-term imprisonment ranging from eight years and six months to one year and eight months. The most severe punishment was imposed on Cui Limei, Ji's aunt and Cui Lijie's sister.

Many of the charges relate to Ji's operation of Hengsheng Group, a Macau junket company that began operating a 12-table VIP room at the StarWorld Hotel in 2011.

This happened during Macau's boom years, and by 2013, the operation had grown to seven VIP rooms and 86 tables, according to Macau News.

The court also found that the organization opened casinos overseas many times between 2008 and 2021 to "obtain illegal benefits."

Ji is on the run

Mr Ji is believed to have turned his attention to Saipan after Beijing cracked down on Macau's junket industry in 2014 as part of President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign. This year, IPI was awarded Saipan’s only casino license, giving it 40 years of gaming exclusivity on the island.

The Northern Mariana Islands Supreme Court suspended the license indefinitely in April 2021 due to IPI's failure to pay its annual license fee.

Ji has not been seen in public for more than two years and is wanted by Chinese authorities.Asia Gaming Briefing reported this week on rumors that he was holed up in Tokyo.

The former agent made the local tabloids for her relationship with Taiwanese actress and model Pace Wu, with whom she has a child. The couple has enjoyed flaunting their wealth to the media in the past, including installing two crystal dragons in their home, which is reportedly worth $130 million.

Mr Ji is the latest junket tycoon to be prosecuted, following the convictions in Macau of Suncity Group's Chow Cheuk Wah and Tak Chun Group's Chen Lixiong. In January this year, Zhou was sentenced to 18 years in prison for illegal gambling and organized crime. Chen April was sentenced to 14 years in prison on similar charges.

Read also:



Limited offer

Learn more