During many years as a restaurateur in Sutherland Shire, Tony Leung developed what one club boss describes as “an outstanding reputation as a businessman and purveyor of fine food”.
He held the catering contract for the King Wan restaurants at Cronulla Sharkies and Tradies Caringbah clubs, and also operated the Serendip restaurant and Willow Lounge Grill & Cafe at Tradies Gymea.
Club officials were puzzled, therefore, when Mr Leung disappeared suddenly early this year, leaving what they say are unpaid debts.
Police say they wish to speak to the restaurateur about “alleged fraudulent matters”, but have been unable to locate him.
Sharkies are believed to be owed about $100,000, and Tradies and various suppliers are among other creditors.
Mr Leung’s bookkeeper-accountant, whom he introduced as his niece, has also not been able to be contacted.
Sutherland Local Area Command crime manager, Detective Inspector Terry O’Neill, told the Leader a report was made to police at the end of April.
“There is a current investigation occurring and [Mr Leung] is part of that investigation,” Mr O’Neill said.
“It is to do with alleged fraudulent matters, which we would put to him, and offer him the opportunity to give any information he can provide.
“We have tried to gather information to see what we are looking at, to see if it is a contractual matter or a criminal matter.
“[Detectives] have made some attempts to contact Mr Leung, but have been unsuccessful.
“As to whether he is missing, I can’t confirm that.
“I can only say there is an investigation, and he will be spoken to when we are able to catch up with him.”
Mr O’Neill said, when police started their investigation in early May, there was no record of Mr Leung leaving Australia.
Sharks chief executive Lyall Gorman said he was unable to comment “as it could become a a legal matter”.
Mr Gorman said the club had a new contractor, who was part of the former business, and the same staff.
Sutherland District Trade Union Club (Tradies) chief executive Tim McAleer said Mr Leung had provided restaurant services in the shire for more than 30 years.
“This was a guy of impeccable character,” Mr McAleer said.
“He had an outstanding reputation as a businessman and purveyor of fine food.”
Mr McAleer said Mr Leung “employed family, and looked after his aged mother, whom I believe is in a nursing home. He lost his wife some years ago”.
“The first I knew of his disappearance was when Lyall Gorman called and asked, ‘Do you know where Tony is?’ ” he said.
“Fortunately, our exposure is not a lot.”
Mr McAleer said Mr Leung had worked for Tradies for about five years, and had been associated with Sharkies since the 1990s.
He said Tradies had been reviewing catering arrangements at the time Mr Leung disappeared, “because of his declining interest”.
Maze Catering had taken over at Tradies Gymea and Caringbah, retaining former staff, who wished to stay.