SINGAPORE - A tourist who left for Malaysia shortly after stealing $910,600 worth of property from a casino patron was jailed for four years on Monday (Feb 29).
Malaysian Yeoh Jackson, 24, pleaded guilty to stealing a $1,000 Zegna clutch bag, cash of $9,100, Marina Bay Sands Casino Paiza chips worth $900,000, a mobile phone and other personal items from Mr Charles Patrick, 71, at a baccarat table at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino on Sept 2 last year.
He also admitted to moving the benefits of his criminal conduct out of jurisdiction by taking the items to Malaysia.
A district court heard that Mr Patrick withdrew $1 million worth of chips in denominations of $100,000 to gamble at the Paiza Room at Level 2 of the casino.
Yeoh stood near Mr Patrick to observe him gambling a few times. At around 7.40pm, Yeoh stood behind him at the baccarat table while he was putting some casino chips into his clutch bag.
About half an hour later, Mr Patrick left his clutch bag and cellphone unattended to gamble at other tables nearby.
Yeoh then placed a bottle of water next to the clutch bag and cellphone. He kept drinking from the water bottle to give the impression that the clutch bag and mobile phone belonged to him.
At about 8.40pm, Yeoh stole the two items. He left the casino and threw away the mobile phone. He then took a cab to the Bugis area, and left the country via Woodlands checkpoint with the remaining items.
He claimed that he threw away Mr Patrick's bank cards and the car key. He kept the clutch bag for his own use and spent the cash on gambling and his personal expenses. He also kept casino chips worth $400,000 and gave away chips worth $500,000 to his friends.
Singapore police were notified by Malaysian police of his arrest at Kuching, Sarawak, on Jan 18 this year. Yeoh was brought back to Singapore on a warrant of arrest two days later.
Yeoh, whose sentence was backdated to Jan 21, told District Judge Salina Ishak that he committed the offences as he had lost money gambling. Pleading for a light sentence, the first-time offender said he was very remorseful and sorry for what he had done.
"I shall make sure this will be my last,'' he said.
Another charge under the Casino Control Act for having chips with an aggregate value of $900,000 at Woodlands checkpoint, which is not a casino or a designated site, was taken into consideration.
Yeoh could have been jailed for up to three years and fined for theft. For removing property out of jurisdiction, the maximum penalty is a $500,000 fine and 10 years' jail.