May 2, 2023 2 min read


NZ Court Orders Man to Forfeit Money from Illegal Gambling

Although the money from the illegal gambling activity was forfeited, the defendant was not charged

Currently, gambling activities in New Zealand are controlled by the Department of Internal Affairs in the country. To operate legally, gambling operators need to be authorized by or under the Gambling Act of 2003. The gambling regulator, similar to other countries, ensures that licensees follow the rules and seek to eliminate illegal gambling operations.

Usually, people or organizations offering illegal gambling are subject to criminal charges which can include fines and or even imprisonment. While this is usually the case, certainly that’s not the story of Yanxian Liu, an Auckland restaurant owner. The man, whose Favona, Auckland home was searched by police in June 2021, was able to accumulate thousands in illegal gambling proceeds, a report released by the NZ Herald reveals. When searching his home, police authorities uncovered NZ$141,480 ($87,700), as well as a large amount of tobacco and cigarettes.

An investigation was launched considering the find and law enforcement consulted with the Customs to determine whether Liu paid tax for the cigarettes and tobacco. Surprisingly, authorities uncovered that despite having 14,000 Chinese cigarettes, as well as 1.5 kg of tobacco in his home, the man did not pay any tax.

Court Orders the Money to Be Forfeited

Considering the amount of tobacco and cigarettes, allegedly, Liu was involved in selling them illegally. A further probe uncovered that the large sum of money in fact came from the operation of illegal mahjong gambling sessions, as well as moneylending, combined with the selling of cigarettes.

Liu reportedly organized mahjong gambling at a Chinese restaurant located in Newmarket where he was the co-owner. However, when checking, law enforcement uncovered that the restaurant didn’t have authorization to offer gambling games, which made this activity illegal. Additionally, the investigators found that Liu wasn’t registered as a “financial services provider,” which made his money-lending operation also illegal and in breach of the laws.

The Commissioner’s case is that Mr Liu operates illegal mahjong gambling games, from which he earns money, and during which he sells uncustomed cigarettes and offers credit to gamblers.

Justice Ian Gault

The country’s Criminal Proceeds Act enables the forfeiture of money that is known to be obtained from illicit activities. In Liu’s case, a High Court decision ruled by Justice Ian Gault, ordered the NZ$141,480 ($87,700) to be forfeited. Interestingly enough, the restaurant owner may have dodged the bullet, considering that no charges were filed against him.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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