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26 Okt 2020

Tang Ailin, Caixin,
Fan Wenjun, Caixin,
Liang Shuting, Caixin,
Han Wei, Caixin

Myanmar: Yatai City project reportedly backed by fugitive Chinese businessman

"Cover Story: A Fugitive Businessman’s High-Profile Bet in Myanmar", 26 October 2020

A high-profile investment project in Myanmar backed by a reclusive Chinese businessman who has done business under at least four names fell under scrutiny for allegations of illegal gambling operations, bringing to light the investor’s shady business history.

At the center of the controversy is an ambitious $15 billion project called Yatai City that aims to turn a quiet Myanmar border village into a Singapore-like business hub, according to public information. The main architect of what’s also known as the Myanmar Yatai Shwe Kokko Special Economic Zone is a 38-year-old expatriate Chinese businessman who goes by the name She Kailun and three others, based on Caixin reporting. [...]

Moreover, the Myanmar government is investigating it for illegal cross-border gambling after local media questioned the legality of Yatai City’s business operations. Several international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have cited Yatai City as a major backer of illegal cross-border gambling in Myanmar. [...]

There is little information about She’s business in the Philippines. But documents from a Chinese court shed light on shady dealings. In 2014, a court in Shandong convicted a man named She Zhi Jiang for operating an illegal lottery business in the Philippines targeting Chinese online users, making illegal gains of 2.2 billion yuan. She remained a fugitive while eight of his accomplices were sentenced to jail for 15 to 24 months, according to the court documents. [...]

Public information showed that Yatai International had business dealings with Chinese state-owned companies including China Railway 20 Bureau Group and China National Real Estate Development Group. At the same time, She won more honorary titles in overseas Chinese communities through sponsorships and by making generous donations. [...]