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Malaysian man and team of Taiwanese conspirators win over S$433,000 in baccarat scheme at Marina Bay Sands

A Malaysian and a compatriot, alongside four Taiwanese co-conspirators, devised a formula to win S$433,730 in 8 days at Marina Bay Sands.

They executed their plan, each taking on roles like “marksman,” “sorcerer,” “tank,” and “support” during their December 2022 operation in Singapore.

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SINGAPORE: A Malaysian man, along with five others, conspired to employ a formula to calculate card dealing in baccarat, ultimately winning a staggering S$433,730 (approximately US$315,000) in just eight days at the Marina Bay Sands casino.

The Malaysian defendant, Tan Kian Yi (35 years old), faced 11 charges under the Casino Control Act in court on Tuesday (3 Oct).

Of these charges, he admitted guilt to four, while the remaining accusations will be taken into consideration during the sentencing phase.

Notably, this is the inaugural case to be prosecuted under Section 171(1) of the Casino Control Act, which explicitly prohibits the use of any device to count or record cards dealt during casino gaming, whether for oneself or others.

The criminal group involved not only the defendant but also Malaysian Chai Hee Keong (45 years old), along with individuals hailing from Taiwan, namely Hung Jung-Hao (27 years old), Chou Yu-Lun (26 years old), Wang Yu (22 years old), and Hung Yu-Wen (24 years old).

The intricate baccarat conspiracy unveiled

This intricate case unveiled the defendant’s initial meeting with Hung Yu-Wen at a Philippine casino in August 2022.

Subsequently, in October of the same year, Hung Yu-Wen, and Wang Yu agreed to convene in Singapore to observe baccarat gameplay at Marina Bay Sands.

Come November, they reconvened in the Philippines to strategize for baccarat victories, with the defendant bringing along his financially troubled friend, Chai Hee Keong.

Through Hung, they were introduced to an individual named “Kevin” who had devised a formula to enhance their odds of success in calculating baccarat dealing.

To operate this formula, participants had to memorize codes comprised of English letters, each representing distinct suits and card values.

After inputting these codes into Excel, the formula would execute calculations and generate results.

Deciding to join the conspiracy, the defendant and Chai Hee Keong received approval from Hung, entitling them to a 20% share of the winnings.

The “marksman,” “sorcerer,” “tank,” and “support” in the scheme

To execute their scheme, each member assumed specific roles. In December 2022, during their operation in Singapore, these roles included “marksman,” “sorcerer,” “tank,” and “support.”

The “marksman” was tasked with inputting received information into a computer within their hotel room and subsequently advising the “sorcerer” on betting strategies.

The “sorcerer” wore a Bluetooth headset to transmit observed information, such as the dealing sequence, to the “support” and “tank.”

The “sorcerer” and “support” usually placed small bets, while the “tank” was responsible for placing large bets.

Members took turns in different roles, with the defendant Tan Kian Yi primarily serving as the “marksman” and “tank.”

Prior to the operation, two unidentified individuals supplied the group with S$ 600,000 in funds, and the defendant withdrew S$100,000 from his own account to exchange for chips.

In the event of group winnings, each member would receive a share commensurate with their contribution, with an initial allocation of S$100,000 worth of chips for each participant.

Between December 16 and 23, 2022, after accounting for losses totalling approximately S$231,332, the group managed to accumulate SGD 433,730 from baccarat.

The casino staff eventually detected irregularities, leading to the arrest of Hung Jung-Hao on December 24 when he visited the casino alone.

Police also found approximately S$797,730 in chips in their hotel room.

The other five individuals suspected that Hung Jung-Hao had been arrested after losing contact with him and promptly drove to Malaysia on the following day.

The defendant was arrested by Malaysian authorities at the Malaysian airport on February 3, 2023, and was subsequently extradited to Singapore two days later.

The prosecution argued that this case involved at least six individuals and that their plan was elaborate, complex, and difficult to detect.

After Hung Jung-Hao was arrested, the defendant and other suspects, including him, immediately fled Singapore.

As the first case charged under Section 171(1) of the Casino Control Act, the prosecution stated that the sentence must be sufficient to deter potential criminal groups from operating in Singapore, requesting a prison sentence of 42 to 48 months for the defendant.

The judge mentioned that more time is needed to consider the sentence, and the verdict is scheduled for November 22.

Under Section 171(1) of the Casino Control Act, if convicted, an individual can be fined up to S$150,000, imprisoned for a maximum of seven years, or both.

For group offences, fines of up to S$300,000 can be imposed.

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srzzzly why are our cops and laws helping a casino ,that mostly hires FTs, to earn money?
these anti-cardcounting laws just sound like sour grapes from losers. why should our gov and cops help these biz be sore losers? the casinos can just ownself ban card counters if they’re so kiasi and scared of them. why must we spend tax dollars to help them?!?

This case is criminal because of the legislation to protect the casinos. There is no cheating. The method is a test. It may work, it may not. It should be the casino’s responsibility to safeguard their “game.” The State should not be involved.

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