Reuters/IRP collaboration into organized crime in Macau launches

March 29, 2010

The Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) at the Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, announces the publication of a major investigation by one of our 2009-2010 IRP Fellows.

Matt Isaacs’ six-month investigation, “High-rollers, triads and a Las Vegas giant,” reveals a connection between an identified member of the Wo Hop To, one of the organized crime groups known in the region as triads, and one of the world’s largest gaming companies the Las Vegas Sands — ties that could potentially put Sands in violation of Nevada gaming law.

The story sheds light on the links between China’s secretive triad societies and the U.S.-owned companies operating there. Isaacs’ story, built through an examination of Hong Kong court records, U.S. depositions from the former president of Sands, and interviews with law enforcement and security officials in both the U.S. and Macau centers around a murder-for-hire scheme.

Testimony from a criminal trial revealed that a man described as an organized crime “boss” was the “person in charge” of a private VIP room at the Sands Macau. The man, who had a documented stake in the room’s profits, was named in court transcripts as the mastermind behind a planned hit on a casino dealer suspected of conspiring with a gambler who had won millions.

It launched via the Reuters newswire for international syndication on Monday, March 29, 2010. It was edited by Professor Lowell Bergman, the director of the IRP.

Matt Isaacs, an award-winning investigative reporter and editor in California began his yearlong Fellowship in September 2009. He is a 1999 graduate of the journalism school.

Read the story by clicking here.

Download a PDF of this announcement by clicking here.

About the Investigative Reporting Program

The Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, established permanently in 2006, formalizes work begun in 1992 in the seminars taught by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and documentarian Lowell Bergman.

Funded almost entirely by private grants and gifts, including a chair endowed by the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the IRP functions both as a specialized graduate-level training program and as a non-profit newsgathering operation, generating stories for major broadcast, print and online outlets.

In 2007, the Investigative Reporting Program established the first postgraduate fellowships in investigative reporting in the nation for promising journalists. This yearlong program is without peer at any academic institution in the country. It is designed to nurture journalists who want to pursue in-depth public service reporting by providing them with a salary, benefits and editorial guidance. The annual competition is open to all working journalists, but preference is given to graduates of UC Berkeley’s master’s program in journalism.

The 2009-2010 Fellowships were funded by the Sandler Foundation, with matching gifts from Scott and Jennifer Fearon, the Gruber Family Foundation, Steve Silberstein, John Keker, the Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund, the Pearson Foundation (Financial Times/The Economist, UK) and Peter Wiley. Production and editorial facilities funded in part by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.

For more details, contact:

Marlena Telvick

Investigative Reporting Program

UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

2481 Hearst Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94709

Courtney Dolan

Head of Public Relations, Editorial

Thomson Reuters

Phone: 646 223 8406? Mobile: 917 951 9027


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