Driving instructor fined in 'false rating' casino case

Driving instructor Yap Kah Hsiang (left) was fined $16,000 for getting Tan Guan Xi (right), a dealer supervisor working at the Marina Bay Sands casino, to illegally award membership points to him. -- PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG 
Driving instructor Yap Kah Hsiang (left) was fined $16,000 for getting Tan Guan Xi (right), a dealer supervisor working at the Marina Bay Sands casino, to illegally award membership points to him. -- PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG 

SINGAPORE - A driving instructor was fined $16,000 on Monday for getting a friend who worked at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino to illegally award membership points to him, in the first "false rating" case to be dealt with here.

The term refers to the act of dishonestly "rating" members with points although they have not actually patronised the casino.

Yap Kah Hsiang made the request to Tan Guan Xi, who was then a dealer supervisor with MBS. Tan, 39, did so by repeatedly keying Yap's details into the casino's system between Sept 20, 2010 and May 27, 2012.

This caused the equivalent of $7,676.75 in reward points to accumulate in Yap's account.

Yap, 57, then used the points to redeem some $5,605.83 in products and services at the casino's affiliated stores.

He also had his membership status upgraded from "Gold" to "Diamond".

Yap pleaded guilty on Monday to eight of 460 charges of computer misuse, with the rest taken into consideration. He received the same fine as Tan, who was sentenced on Dec 4 last year.

The court heard that the casino's reward points system can be accessed from each game table by either a dealer supervisor or pit manager.

Normally, patrons' cards are swiped in a reader so that their playing time and bets can be tracked. Tan manually keyed in Yap's membership number - a method that should be used only when a card is faulty, or when the system is unable to detect it.

Defence counsel Shashi Nathan told the court that Yap is a driving instructor at Bukit Batok Driving Centre, and had been a regular visitor to the casino since 2010.

The items redeemed by Yap for "free" included cakes, restaurant meals and overnight stays at MBS.

Yap has made full restitution. He could have been jailed for up to three years and fined up to $10,000 for each of the charges against him.