Court dismisses appeals of trio who took $875k from casino

The High Court dismissed the appeals of three foreigners who were convicted and jailed for misappropriating $875,133 from the Marina Bay Sands' casino.

The trio had also been convicted under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, or CDSA, for transferring the misappropriated monies abroad.

Justice See Kee Oon, who heard the appeal in July, ruled in judgment grounds last week that the findings of the district judge who convicted the foreign nationals last November "were amply supported by the weight of the evidence in its totality".

Chinese national Ho Man Yuk, 37, and Indian nationals Shaikh Farid, 41, and Shaikh Shabana Bi, 33, had conspired to use free play credits that Ho was not entitled to, in order to play in the casino in April 2014.

Following a trial, Ho was sentenced to 21 months' jail, Farid received 26 months, and Shabana was jailed for 12 months.

Ho, a Hong Kong-based businesswoman, was also convicted of 20 additional charges under the CDSA, which included remitting sums from the proceeds to others and converting the cash into gaming chips on several occasions, involving a total value of $443,900.

Farid was also found guilty and convicted of 26 charges under CDSA involving some $1.4 million, which included using $100,000 for gaming chips on April 19, 2014, and remitting $300,000 to one Cham Fui How the following day.

The trio had obtained $875,133 by gambling with the free play credits at the roulette Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs). They took advantage of a computer glitch in the system to dishonestly download as many free play credits as possible, and used them at EGMs to rake in nearly $1 million.

Shabana was convicted of three charges under the CDSA, having transferred about $12,900 from the proceeds to three other persons.

The varying jail terms for the most serious of the CDSA charges had been ordered to run consecutively with the criminal misappropriation charge.

The trio had obtained $875,133 by gambling with the free play credits at the roulette Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs). They took advantage of a computer glitch in the system to dishonestly download as many free play credits as possible, and used them at EGMs to rake in nearly $1 million.

Ho was defended by lawyer Selva Naidu, while Farid and Shabana were represented by lawyer Sarbrinder Singh in their appeals.

Counsel had argued that criminal misappropriation was not made out on the evidence, adding that the money had been mixed with the accused persons' own funds, and therefore the CDSA charges could not stand.

Justice See was not convinced, noting that all three were of limited means and had substantial debts.

In dismissing the appeal, he said the sentences were not excessive, given the sums they made away with and their lack of remorse.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2017, with the headline 'Court dismisses appeals of trio who took $875k from casino'. Print Edition | Subscribe