Last week, Macau’s Judiciary Police arrested two men for alleged casino chip counterfeiting, charging them with fraud. It is also very possible, if not likely, that the men are linked to as many as six other counterfeit chip cases since July 19th.
In a press release, the police department indicated that it responded to a complaint from a casino on July 22nd that it suspected two men of running counterfeit chips. The men were apprehended and were discovered to have 85 fake chips both on their persons and at the table. Each chip had a face value of HKD 10,000 (approximately USD $1,280).
Going further, it was found that the men had arrived from the “mainland” (China) that day and had gotten in touch with a local accomplice who provided them with 100 counterfeit chips, all with face value of HKD 10,000. It is thought that the men scammed the casino out of HKD 350,000 (USD $44,813) through a combination of cashing in the chips and using them to gamble before a dealer noticed the bogus chips.
The accomplice has not been caught.
Police have said that there were six similar cases in just the three days before the men were caught, with a total of 32 chips with denominations of HKD 10,000 found. The Judiciary Police have not said outright that they believe that all seven cases are related, but they also “do not rule out the possibility that these cases were committed by the same criminal syndicate.”
It sounds like the two men who were arrested were not going to receive the entire benefit of the proceeds from the counterfeit chips, but were instead getting paid for their role in the operation. According to a report from local new outlet TDM, Judiciary Police spokeswoman Lei Hong Nei said, “They would have received 150,000 dollars each as a reward.”
Considering the face value of the fake chips the two men were given was well in excess of HKD 150,000 (either HKD 1 million or HKD 2 million in total – the press release is not clear as to whether each person was given 100 chips or if they were given 100 chips combined), it seems like the goal was to launder them through the gaming tables and then cash out as much money with legitimate chips as possible. After delivering the cash to their handlers, the men likely would have then received their HKD 150,000 reward.
Though the exact casino or casinos where the counterfeit chips were put into play have not been named, TDM has said it believes Galaxy Macau was the venue. It is not known if the casino was targeted for a specific reason, but one were to guess, one might theorize that it was determined that the casino had the most lax security and/or keen-eyed dealers. But again, that would just be a guess.