Casino Scam Turns To Manhunt In Singapore

Robert Longthorpe - Senior Writer
Robert Longthorpe
10 February 2023 in News
Manhunt in Singapore For Gambling Scam Conspiritors

Marina Bay Sands is a luxury resort in Singapore with iconic three-towered architecture, offering stunning views of the city. Unlike real money online casinos, it features amenities like an infinity pool, casino, shopping mall, restaurants and bars, and a range of accommodations from luxury suites to affordable rooms.

However this luxury resort made headlines for other reasons recently. Whilst NZ online casinos don't face this issue, brick and mortar casinos stand the risk of becoming venues for scammers. Marina Bay Sands was the target of a failed gambling scam that has now resulted in a manhunt. A group of scammers, consisting of both locals and at least one foreign national, conspired to cheat the casino on December 23rd.

The mastermind behind the plan was a 27-year-old gambler from Taiwan, Hung Jung-Hao, who used his mobile phone to transmit the suits and values of the cards dealt at a baccarat table to his off-site accomplices.

The group had created an online chat group, “15/12 Work in Singapore Chat Group (9)”, specifically for their illegal activity. The game they targeted was 7 Up Baccarat, a type of baccarat that is susceptible to card-counting.

What is 7 Up Baccarat and Why Did They Choose This Game?

7 Up Baccarat is a variation of Baccarat where two hands are dealt, the "player" and the "banker", and each hand is dealt seven cards. The players compare their cards to determine the winner of the hand. To win, the player must have a higher-ranking hand or a seven-card straight flush and wager an amount equal to the banker’s wager. If the player wins, they are paid out according to the amount they wagered.

Cheating at 7 Up Baccarat is relatively easy because the game is played with only seven cards per hand. This means that players can easily count the cards and figure out what cards their opponents have. The group thought they could take advantage of the skewed possible results and winning combinations, but they underestimated the experience and knowledge of the casino.

The Casino Was a Step Ahead of the Cheaters

The scammers probably thought that they had everything covered, but they were about to be proven wrong…. very quickly. The casino bust took place just three minutes after the group started playing, and Hung was handed over to the police and remains in custody. The authorities have managed to identify three of the six accomplices who may have fled the country, while the identities of the other three remain unknown.

How Illegal Was Their Scam?

Counting cards is not illegal, but it is against the rules in casinos as it gives players an unfair advantage over the house. Casinos have been around for a long time and have seen it all, especially when it comes to uncovering card counting techniques. Marina Bay Sands is no exception, and it quickly discovered the scammers.

The use of technology instead of natural talent to help beat a game goes too far, and this practice is strictly prohibited in casinos. Casinos like Marina Bay Sands are experienced in uncovering these techniques and are quick to act when they suspect foul play.

Hung is Now Waiting His Fate

Hung is now awaiting his sentence, which could be up to seven years in prison. Prosecutors and the judge believe he could be a flight risk due to the history of others in the group, as he is a foreign national. However, there may be an alternative sentence on the table, as the authorities are keen to find out everyone involved in the scam. Hung may be able to cut a deal if he provides information on his accomplices.

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