South Korean student jailed for theft of casino chips

South Korean student You Hyeon Ho was jailed for six weeks for stealing casino chips more than 200 times at the Marina Bay Sands casino.
South Korean student You Hyeon Ho was jailed for six weeks for stealing casino chips more than 200 times at the Marina Bay Sands casino.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A South Korean student who stole casino chips more than 200 times at the Marina Bay Sands casino was jailed for six weeks on Thursday (Sept 17).

You Hyeon Ho, 22, a third-year student at Singapore Management University, had admitted to 27 counts of stealing casino chips totalling $2,675.

He faced a total of 272 charges, including 21 charges of attempted theft and one of cheating at play by sleight of hand.

The amount involved in the 250 theft charges was $6,300.


The amount involved in You's 250 theft charges was $6,300. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

A magistrate's court heard that You had committed several counts of theft and attempted theft of casino chips at the Sic Bo tables in the MBS casino between Oct 1 and 22 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Francis Zhang Zeyi said You had either dishonestly shifted other patrons' wagers or removed them from the betting boxes before the result of a game.

When the patrons discovered that their chips were missing, You would return them the chips and claim that he had mistakenly thought that the chips were his.

On Oct 22, he shifted a $5 cash chip belonging to an unknown man, resulting in the latter losing the game.

The casino's surveillance team detained him and called the police.

You's lawyer Jonathan Wong said in his mitigation plea that his client had an outstanding, exemplary and distinguished academic track record over the past 10 years.

The offences, he said, were isolated, one-off and completely out of character.

He said You, who was diagnosed with depression, had also been stressed by the sudden and severe breakdown of his family's finances after his father's bankruptcy. His parents had to return to South Korea, leaving You and his brother here.

District Judge Lim Tse Haw ruled out probation, saying You was already 22 and does not have any roots in Singapore as a result of his father's financial trouble. He took into account You's young age and his clean record. He said he could not ignore the fact that You had gone on a stealing spree over a period of one month and the sheer number of charges he faced.

You could have been jailed for up to three years and fined on each charge.