In a groundbreaking case of casino fraud, a syndicate led by a Malaysian man employed advanced techniques to win over $433,000 at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) Casino in Singapore.
The operation, which ran from December 16 to 23, 2022, marks a significant moment in the world of casino gaming, showcasing the lengths to which individuals might go to manipulate the system.
A Coordinated Effort to Beat the Casino
The center of this elaborate scheme was 35-year-old Malaysian national Tan Kian Yi. Tan, along with his associates, orchestrated a sophisticated operation involving recording cards during games at MBS, a casino renowned for its strict security measures. The syndicate’s success in circumventing these measures led to winnings totaling $433,730.
Tan pleaded guilty to four charges under Singapore’s Casino Control Act, a move that reflects the seriousness of their offenses. His involvement in this scheme marks a first-of-its-kind case for Singapore.
Syndicate’s Innovative Strategy
The syndicate’s approach was innovative and technologically advanced. It involved a female member of the group, referred to as the “sorcerer,” who discreetly used a concealed earpiece connected to her mobile phone via Bluetooth. Positioned at the gaming table, she relayed card information to another member, known as the “marksman.”
The “marksman” played a crucial role, analyzing the transmitted card information using a specially developed formula on an Excel spreadsheet. This strategy enabled the “sorcerer” to place bets with a higher chance of winning, significantly skewing the betting odds in their favor.
The Formation and Operation of the Syndicate
Tan’s involvement began when he met Ms. Hung Yu-Wen at a casino in the Philippines in August 2022. She introduced him to the idea of winning big at baccarat using a special formula. Intrigued, Tan met with her and Mr. Wang in Singapore in October 2022. The trio stayed at the MBS hotel, carefully studying the baccarat games and planning their strategy.
Ms. Hung Yu-Wen trained Tan in using the formula and the specific codes related to the values and suits of baccarat cards. Tan’s friend, Chai, was also brought into the fold, expanding the syndicate’s capabilities.
The Syndicate’s Downfall
The intricate operation came to light when the casino staff, after reviewing security footage, noticed the unusual behavior of the syndicate members. The subsequent arrest of Hung Jung-Hao in the casino signaled the beginning of the end for the group. The remaining members, sensing danger, fled Singapore. However, their departure did not prevent the legal consequences of their actions.
Tan was arrested in Kuala Lumpur in February 2023 and extradited to Singapore, facing no opportunity for restitution. Chai, too, faced extradition and charges in Singapore.
As the legal proceedings against the remaining members continue, this incident stands as a stark reminder of the risks involved in such fraudulent activities and the stringent laws that govern casino operations worldwide. The innovative yet unlawful methods employed by the syndicate underline the ongoing battle between both traditional and live casinos, and those trying to exploit them.
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