Marina Bay Sands (MBS) will get to move ahead with its bid to recover more than A$8 million (S$8.1 million) owed by an elusive Chinese-Australian businessman who had given a false address in his credit application at the casino here.
An Australian judge allowed MBS' application to send notice of the Singapore judgment, which has been registered in the Australian court, to his known home and business addresses in lieu of serving it on him in person.
China-born Mr Wang Zhi Cai, 63, racked up his sizeable debt as a patron at the MBS casino in 2014. However, subsequent checks to reach him at his given address in Australia proved futile as there was no such address.
"The amount of the judgment is considerable, more than A$8 million, and Mr Wang appears to be engaging in behaviour that suggests he is trying to evade service," said Justice David Davies of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, in decision grounds released on Friday.
MBS had obtained a judgment against Mr Wang for the monies in the Singapore High Court and registered the judgment with the Australian court last September for enforcement against him.
But attempts to serve the registration notice personally on Mr Wang at the registered office of his own company - TMG International Design Pty - or at its place of business in New South Wales failed.
ATTEMPT TO EVADE SERVICE
The amount of the judgment is considerable, more than A$8 million, and Mr Wang appears to be engaging in behaviour that suggests he is trying to evade service.
JUSTICE DAVID DAVIES, of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in decision grounds released on Friday.
A business partner suggested he be contacted via a WeChat address in China that was provided.
Searches also revealed that he owned a condominium unit in Kirribilli but several moves to serve the papers on him there failed, as did attempts to call him on two given phone numbers in Australia and China.
Last month, an Australian court deputy assistant registrar refused MBS' application for an order of substituted service, which would have allowed the Notice of Registration of the Singapore judgment to be posted to the addresses linked to Mr Wang and be taken as having been served on him personally.
The registrar had concluded that the evidence indicated Mr Wang was in China, but on appeal by MBS, Justice Davies held this was a mistake as the only possible evidence Mr Wang was overseas was that he had a Chinese phone number.
"That, however, said nothing about where Mr Wang was to be found," said the judge.
He ruled it more likely Mr Wang was in Australia given that he is the registered owner of the Kirribilli property, and based on the discussions which the MBS lawyer had with two people connected to him, including his business partner.
"Mr Wang is obviously making himself elusive, no doubt because he is aware of the default which led to the judgment in Singapore," said the judge.
He ordered that the copies of the registration notices be posted to his residential and office addresses which was to be taken as being issued to him personally. A copy was also to be mailed to the given WeChat address.
If Mr Wang ignores the notice once it has been served, a default judgment against him would follow, which would enable MBS to apply to seize any of his assets in Australia up to the value of the amount owed. The A$8 million sum is understood to be the largest sought by MBS against a patron from Australia.