Hotel's power may be cut if electricity bill left unpaid
Danny Mok and Jolie Ho
The Macau New Century Hotel and its casino could go dark as soon as today if they fail to pay their electricity bill - the latest fallout from a bitter dispute between two shareholders.
The city's power supplier, Companhia de Electricidade de Macau (CEM), said the Taipa Island hotel had to settle the 2.4 million pataca bill or have its power shut off, according to the Macao Daily News.
But a representative for shareholder, veteran casino operator Ng Man-sun, said the hotel had paid the bill in full and dismissed the blackout threat as a rumour spread by someone 'who just wanted to make chaos'.
The hotel is at the centre of a nasty ownership fight between Ng and his former lover, Chen Meihuan. Their quarrel spilled into public view last Monday when the hotel abruptly stopped renting rooms and locked out guests who had already paid.
Ng, who is also known as Ng Wai and 'Street Market' Wai, and a female companion were beaten on June 24 by six men wielding hammers and sticks, who rushed into a restaurant at which he was dining in his own hotel. He remains in hospital recovering from his injuries.
Ng's representative, Lee Soi-peng said she could not rule out that the attack, a grim reminder of triad battles that plagued the former Portuguese colony in the 1990s, was linked to the ownership dispute with Chen.
CEM said the 2.4 million pataca bill for services provided in May was originally due in mid-June, but the deadline was extended until today in response to a written request from the hotel.
The power company said it would notify the fire department before it cut the power to make sure the hotel's elevators were empty. It had also contacted the Tourist Office, in an attempt to help prevent an disruption from damaging Macau's image as a tourist destination.
Another electricity bill for a similar amount for the June charges would also be issued soon. Any power outage would also affect the hotel's casino, Greek Mythology.
However, Lee, Ng's representative, said the hotel and casino were open and operating as normal and she denied that the hotel still owed any electricity payments.
'Definitely, there was no such thing. We paid it long ago,' said Lee, adding that she could only speculate where the information came from. 'They is just someone who wants to make chaos. And I'm baffled too.'
Ng, claims to own 49.9 per cent of the Greek Mythology casino through Hong Kong-listed Macau casino operator Amax. Ng is Amax's biggest shareholder with a 24 per cent stake.
Chen claims she holds an 80 per cent stake and that she had turned the hotel into a profitable operation.