A recent incident at casino resort Okada Manila involving an on-site confrontation and accusations of violence led to an investigation by the Philippine gaming authorities. The event happened after a group linked to the casino’s former chairman, Kazuo Okada, reportedly forced their way into the resort.
A Revenge Story in the Making
The chain of events leading to this moment begins in June 2017, when TRLEI, Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, ousted Okada from the board of directors on suspicion of misappropriating $3 million. Okada was also kicked out of the board of TRLEI’s parent company, Universal Entertainment Corp, due to similar accusations. A Paranaque City trial court later issued an arrest warrant against Okada and his associate, Takahiro Usui, in connection with the embezzlement charges.
However, the Philippines Court of Appeals dismissed the case this January and quashed the arrest warrants for the two men. Taking advantage of the sudden momentum in his favor, the Japanese casino mogul redoubled his efforts to regain control over Universal Entertainment, its subsidiary, TRLEI, and the Okada Manila resort. According to a recent court ruling issued on April 27, Okada filed an “extremely urgent omnibus motion” on April 6th. That motion was subsequently granted by the Supreme Court of the Philippines, which issued a status quo ante order that would return Okada to his position as chairman and CEO of TRLEI.
The situation culminated this Tuesday when TRLEI reported that a group of 50 men, led by former board member Tonyboy Cojuangco, “illegally and violently” took over the casino and used “brute force and intimidation to compel key legitimate officers to vacate the premises.”
The group, which included private guards, police officers of Paranaque City Police, and a local sheriff, claimed to have a court order but refused to show the authorizing document when prompted. Video footage of the event was released on Wednesday by a local broadcaster, depicting two groups of people, some of them in uniform, facing off at Okada Manila in near-complete darkness, presumably because electricity in the property was cut.
TRLEI stated that they were working to “achieve a swift resolution to the trespassing and illegal takeover.”
The Local Regulator Will Launch an Investigation
PAGCOR, the Philippine Amusement, and Gaming Corporation stated that it would investigate the takeover. The gaming regulator’s board will meet on Wednesday to discuss the best way to proceed with the investigation of the incident without disrupting the operations of the casino. The agency’s chairman, Alfredo Lim, said: “I was shocked to read there was violence and intimidation.”
Meanwhile, the official Tiger Resort website announced in a Tuesday press announcement that “the group of chairman Kazuo Okada is once again managing Okada Manila” and assured that all operations in the resort would proceed without interruption. Okada himself is yet to release an official statement regarding the matter.