Marina Bay Sands is suing former Olympic table tennis player Kong Linghui in a Hong Kong court for HKD$2,559,000 (S$454,000), Hong Kong media reported on Monday (May 29).
Hong Kong news site Wenweipo.com in a report on Monday said the hotel was suing Kong, a 41-year-old Olympic gold medallist from China, for an unpaid debt.
The news site cited a court writ alleging that Kong borrowed S$1,000,000 from MBS in February 2015, of which $900,000 was for chips, and $100,000 to qualify as a premium player.
The plaintiff did not specify what ties Kong has with Hong Kong, or why the lawsuit was filed there, Wenweipo.com reported.
He has since repaid part of the loan, but MBS is reportedly suing him for the remaining $454,000, said Wenweipo.com.
However, Kong on Monday night said in a statement on his Sina Weibo account that he was not the one who owed the money.
He wrote: "I was with my friends and family at the casino, watching them play. I helped them to get chips and provided my personal details to the casino."
Once the news of his being sued by MBS broke, Kong said he called his friends and family who were there that day to ask what happened.
"Only then did I find out that someone had unsettled debts with the casino, that resulted in my being sued. I immediately asked the person to clarify the matter and I reserve the right to protect myself through legal means."
However, he did not identify who the debtor was. Kong, who is now a table tennis coach, went on to apologise for the negative publicity the issue had brought to his team, which is taking part in the World Table Tennis Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Kong is an established table tennis player with two gold Olympic medals under his belt - one for the table tennis men's doubles in 1996 and one for the men's singles in 2000. He also won a silver Olympic medal for the men's doubles in 2004. He retired as a table tennis player in 2006 and became the head coach of China’s women’s national team in 2013.
The Straits Times contacted MBS, but it declined comment.
Additional reporting by Melissa Lin