Criminal Gang Using Fake Chips Busted at Macau Casino
A criminal gang in Macau has used an elaborate operation that led to the significant seizure of 804 fake casino chips with an estimated value of around $714,246. Macau's law enforcement agencies are now actively searching for six primary suspects linked to this fraud. Given the scale of the operation, the authorities have expressed concerns that there might still be other undisclosed sums or assets linked to this scheme.
Galaxy Macau Becomes Target
On August 21, a dealer working at the renowned Galaxy Macau Casino in Cotai stumbled upon a surprising find. While handling the chips, the dealer sensed a difference in the texture of a few of them. Each of these chips was labeled with a face value of $1,275. Resorting to technology for verification, a machine-based examination confirmed the dealer's suspicions.
The day's review suggested that not just one or two, but eight people had actively used these counterfeit chips for gambling. Although the casino's security detained two culprits, six others managed to escape the venue.Related: Michigan Casino Worker Accused of Allegedly Stealing $700K
These suspects hastily attempted to erase traces of their wrongdoing. They discarded over 100 of these chips in a nearby trash bin. Nevertheless, their efforts proved to be in vain, as the police managed to retrieve these chips from a local waste incineration facility.
Macau's Ongoing Battle with Gaming Crimes
Investigators surmised that the criminal group might have exchanged as many as 493 counterfeit chips, each tagged at $1,275, at various casino outlets. The illicit earnings from these transactions amount to an estimated $89,283.
The larger backdrop to this incident is the worrying rise in gaming-related crimes in Macau. As 2023's first quarter reports indicate, the region witnessed a sharp 24.4% year-on-year surge in such offenses, tallying up to 158 individual cases. This spike can be partially attributed to the renewed inflow of tourists, as travel restrictions imposed due to the pandemic were relaxed.
Of these incidents, an overwhelming majority were connected to unauthorized money exchanges. This category of offenses alone saw a dramatic increase of 78.4% from the previous year's numbers. Consequently, a massive 3,655 people were apprehended by law enforcement for their participation in these illegal activities.