A Macau casino resort sustained “losses” of HKD600,000 (US$76,849) from seven separate incidents since July 19 involving passing of fake gambling chips, the city’s Judiciary Police told GGRAsia. The latest incident took place on Saturday.
The police did not – in line with their policy – identify the venue targeted in Saturday’s incident, but did confirm that on seven separate occasions since Wednesday last week the same venue had been targeted. Public broadcaster TDM showed in a Monday report on the latest incident, images of fake gambling chips carrying the name of Galaxy Macau, the flagship Cotai resort of Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
GGRAsia approached the company for comment. “As this incident is under police investigation, we have no further information to provide at this moment,” said Galaxy Entertainment in an email reply.
The police separately told a Monday media briefing that the quality of the fake chips was poor. The authorities added they do not rule out the possibility all seven incidents had perpetrators in common.
In the latest incident on Saturday, the police arrested two mainland Chinese residents for allegedly passing and attempting to pass counterfeit gambling chips at some gaming tables.
According to local media outlets, citing Monday’s police briefing, the two male suspects from Saturday’s event entered Macau via the main Border Gate checkpoint from Zhuhai at around 7pm that day. Soon after they arrived at the property they were targeting, they were given in aggregate – by others yet to be apprehended – 100 counterfeit chips. Each of those chips was denominated in the value of HKD10,000.
By the time they were apprehended, the two suspects had been able to acquire HKD350,000-worth of genuine chips in two hours either by playing fake chips on baccarat tables and receiving genuine ones as winnings, or by hiding fake chips among genuine ones and asking the house to exchange the mixture for genuine lower-denomination chips to the same purported aggregate value.
The pair detained were caught while playing on separate tables and were handed by casino security to the police at around 11.30pm. The police allegedly found in their possession a total of 85 counterfeit chips.
The two suspects allegedly told the police that, for every 100 fake chips they were able successfully to pass, they had been promised by others involved in the scam HKD150,000 as reward.
Saturday’s incident was the seventh time since July 19 that the property concerned had been targeted by people allegedly trying to pass fake chips, said the police in their briefing. The Judiciary Police are responsible for crime prevention and detection in the city’s casinos. In the other alleged incidents, 32 counterfeit gaming chips were found. The Chinese-language newspaper Macao Daily News reported that the gaming operator – which the media outlet also identified as Galaxy Entertainment – told the police that its aggregate “loss” across all the incidents was HKD600,000.
The authorities said more than 10 suspects remained at large in connection with Saturday’s events.
(Updated at 8am, July 26)
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Japanese brokerage Nomura