Casino cheats

Student colluded with MBS dealer for extra chips


Student from China, Russian syndicate members jailed; others involved in the scams have already been dealt with

A Chinese national who colluded with a casino dealer to pay him extra cash chips while playing at the casino tables was jailed for 15 weeks yesterday.

Li Zhifen, 25, a student, had admitted to 20 charges of colluding mostly with Jiang Kaiwan, 24, then a dealer with Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino, to get money from playing at Baccarat and Sic Bo tables at the casino between April 14 and May 3 last year.

Fifty-nine other charges were taken into consideration.

Jiang, who was dealt with earlier, was jailed for about 10 months for criminal breach of trust and colluding with Li and Chinese national Dong Hao, 23, also a student, to overpay them chips. He had pleaded guilty last year to 20 of 90 charges involving $138,275.

Dong has been dealt with, having served eight weeks' jail on six of 19 charges.

A district court heard that Jiang would either overpay winning wagers to Li at casino tables he operated or omit to take his losing bets, and might even pay out on Li's losing bets.

Whenever Li wanted to change chips, Jiang would give him extra chips. The chips would then be converted to cash at the casino.

In April last year, Li roped Dong into the fraudulent practice.

After each scam, the trio would meet in the toilets of MBS' hotel tower to split the proceeds.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Randeep Singh Koonar said that some time in March last year, Jiang told Li he had unintentionally overpaid a patron at one of the tables and it was not discovered by MBS management.

After a discussion, the duo hatched the fraudulent practice to overpay chips.

In total, the three men caused the casino to lose $19,700. Restitution amounting to $20,275 was made collectively by the trio on May 30 last year.

In mitigation, Li's lawyer Alagappan Arunasalam said his client was a "passive follower" of Jiang, who was the mastermind and had used his client to take revenge on his employers.

He said Jiang was unhappy with the casino for the way it had handled and sided with unruly patrons whenever disputes involving Jiang occurred.

Li, he added, is remorseful for his actions, is of very good character, and has spent his free time helping out in charitable institutions.

The maximum penalty is a $150,000 fine and seven years' jail on each charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2017, with the headline ' Student colluded with MBS dealer for extra chips'. Print Edition | Subscribe