Man admits being part of syndicate that recorded cards at casino, helping group win over $433k
SINGAPORE – Members of a foreign syndicate unlawfully used devices to record cards during games played at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino, winning a total of $433,730 at the tables.
The group operated in Singapore from Dec 16 to 23, 2022.
Their strategy involved a female syndicate member, known as the “sorcerer”, wearing a concealed earphone connected to her mobile phone via Bluetooth at a gaming table in the casino.
She would relay information on the cards dealt in the game to an accomplice stationed elsewhere.
This accomplice, known as the “marksman”, would feed the information into an Excel spreadsheet formula to get an answer, and then tell the “sorcerer” how to place her bet.
Court documents did not disclose how the formula worked.
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, Malaysian Tan Kian Yi, 35, who was a “marksman”, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to four charges under the Casino Control Act.
Two of Tan’s alleged accomplices – Taiwanese Hung Jung-Hao, 27, and Malaysian Chai Hee Keong, 46 – were charged in a Singapore district court earlier in 2023 and their cases are pending.
Three other Taiwanese are said to be the other members of the syndicate but court documents did not disclose the outcome of their cases.
They are Wang Yu, 22, his girlfriend, Hung Yu-Wen, 24, and Hung Jung-Hao’s girlfriend, Chou Yu-Lun, 26.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Shao Yan said that Chai was Tan’s close friend.
In August 2022, Tan met Hung Yu-Wen for the first time when he visited a casino in the Philippines, and she introduced him to Wang. She also asked Tan if he was interested to win cash playing the baccarat card game.
He met the couple in Singapore in October 2022 and the trio stayed at the MBS hotel and made trips to the casino to observe baccarat games.
Hung Yu-Wen later told Tan that she had a “formula” that could help them win at baccarat. DPP Ng said that the formula was developed by a man known only as Kelvin.
The prosecutor added: “Yu-Wen asked (Tan) if he was interested to join her and Wang to win money (by) using the formula (and he) agreed to join them.”
According to court documents, the formula was in the form of an Excel sheet.
Hung Yu-Wen taught Tan how to use the formula and gave him a set of codes to memorise. These codes referred to the values and suits of the cards in baccarat games.
She also told Tan that he would be keying the codes into the Excel sheet after someone transmitted information to him. At Tan’s request, she allowed Chai to join the syndicate, said the DPP.
In December 2022, the two Malaysian men went to an MBS hotel room to meet Hung Yu-Wen and Wang. There, the Malaysians also met Hung Jung-Hao and Chou for the first time.
The DPP said each member played a role in committing the offences at the MBS casino.
Among other things, Hung Yu-Wen and Tan took turns to be the “marksman”. She also took turns with Chou to take on the role of “sorcerer”.
The offences came to light when casino staff looked at closed-circuit television footage and noticed the syndicate members’ conduct.
On Dec 24, 2022, Hung Jung-Hao went to the casino alone to gamble and police arrested him soon after.
Suspecting that he had been caught when he became uncontactable, the other syndicate members left Singapore the following day.
Police later seized casino chips worth more than $790,000 from the syndicate members’ rooms.
Tan was arrested in Kuala Lumpur in February 2023, and was taken back to Singapore. He has made no restitution.
Defence lawyers Adrian Wee and Lynette Chang from Lighthouse Law stated in court documents that there is no evidence that the formula involved fraud or cheating at play.
They added: “It is thus impossible to determine whether the effect of the formula would have been to change the odds of a game beyond that envisaged by the casino.”
Tan will be sentenced in November.