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Macau Casino Loses over $207K through Chip Manipulation

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A Cotai casino in Macau has reportedly fallen victim to a gaming chip fraud, resulting in an estimated loss of approximately $207,087. The case is similar to one at another Macau casino less than a year ago.

Macau Criminals Game the System

The Macau Judiciary Police revealed details of the case in a press briefing on Tuesday, stating that the incident involved legitimate house chips that had been tampered with to reflect a higher face value. According to Lei Hon Nei, a spokeswoman for the Macau Judiciary Police, the allegedly doctored gaming chips appeared to carry a face value of HKD10,000 (US$1,279) each and were utilized by a criminal group.

The casino operator, which the police didn't name, reported the crime, leading to the subsequent arrest of five men from mainland China for their alleged involvement in fraud and association with a criminal group. Despite the accusations, all the suspects denied any wrongdoing, as stated by the police.

The Judiciary Police suggested that the criminal group had manipulated legitimate gaming chips originally valued at HKD100 (US12.79) each. They converted them into chips with a face value of HKD10,000.

While the exact method of tampering was not disclosed, Lei confirmed that each chip had an embedded RFID security tag. However, the alleged criminals exploited the similarity in color between the HKD100 and HKD10,000 face-value chips.

Last October, the Galaxy Cotai fell victim to a similar scam. A group of criminals altered casino chips in the same manner, ultimately converting over $700,000 worth of chips. However, it's unclear how much they were able to cash in, as they ditched the chips when law enforcement began to close in.

Police Move In

The latest case of tampered chips involved four suspects playing at baccarat tables, with subsequent chip conversions for cash. The illicit activity occurred around 10:30 pm on Saturday across at least two baccarat tables. The suspects managed to cash out a total of HKD1.22 million (US$156,038) before their scheme was detected by vigilant dealers, according to the casino surveillance records cited by Lei.

An additional suspect was apprehended while attempting to exchange three fraudulent gaming chips for cash at a cage, further highlighting the audacious nature of the criminal endeavor. In total, the Judiciary Police collected 33 fraudulent gaming chips from the Cotai casino.

Authorities suspect that the criminal group may have accomplices on the Chinese mainland, with law enforcement in the Guangdong provincial cities of Zhuhai and Zhongshan already taking action. Three additional suspects allegedly linked to the same group were arrested.

However, at least one suspect remains at large in connection with the chip fraud case. The investigation is ongoing, as Lei confirmed in the press briefing.

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