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Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Poker Site Boss Killed

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

A Canadian resident who ran an online gambling site that featured poker and other games was found shot to death Saturday in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

According to media reports, James Po Ho Cheung, 45, of Vancouver, the president and chief executive officer of 777 Sports Entertainment Group, was found by police at around 2 a.m. shot to death and slumped over in a blood-splattered late-model Cadillac that was parked behind his residence.

Police had responded to the scene after calls were made to 911 by neighbors complaining of gun shots, the reports said.

Police say it appears someone was waiting for Cheung to return home and then ambushed him, firing multiple shots into his car and killing him, the reports said. =A0=A0 According to Internet records, 777 Sports Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of a British corporation, is based in Canada, publicly listed in Nevada and conducted online gambling operations in Costa Rica.

The multi-million-dollar company operated a website, www.777betz.com, that offered online gambling, including poker, other casino games and wagering on horse racing and sports, records show. =A0=A0 Media reports said Cheung has a rap sheet dating back to 1999.

He was charged with conspiracy in 1999 and property laundering in 1999 and 2000.

When contacted by The Province, a Vancouver newspaper, for comment on the murder, Cheung’s wife, Sandy, declined, saying only: “I’m sorry, I’m not feeling well.”

A source in the online gambling industry told www.PokerHelper.com that the murder may have been an extortion attempt gone awry.

“This kind of thing happens all the time in the gambling business,” the source, who didn’t want to be identified, said.

“A gambling operation is making millions of dollars and some criminal interest decides it wants a piece of the easy money.

“If they don’t get it, they kill the gambling operator, which may be what happened here,” the source continued.

“In recent years, owners of real casinos in Turkey, the Netherlands and elsewhere were all killed when they refused to give a share of their profits to criminal interests.

This looks like it may be the same scam, only now it’s online.”

As of Tuesday, visitors to the www.777betz.com website no longer encounter an online gambling site.

The site is now blank except for advertising indicating the domain name is for sale.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)

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