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Suspected Syndicate Member Admits Card Recording in Marina Bay Sands Case
In a Singapore courtroom, Tan Kian Yi, a 35-year-old Malaysian citizen, confessed to his involvement in a cheating syndicate that duped Marina Bay Sands out of an astounding S$433,730 (equivalent to US$315,000). This sophisticated syndicate employed covert mobile devices to covertly transmit card values to their collaborators, sparking suspicions that they had devised a covert system to gain an upper hand in the game of baccarat.
‘The Sorcerer’ and the Enigmatic Spreadsheet
Details emerging from court documents reveal the intricate workings of this clandestine operation. A prominent figure within the syndicate, known as “the Sorcerer,” participated in 7 Up Baccarat while discreetly wearing an earphone connected to her concealed mobile device. The Sorcerer would then discreetly relay card information to Tan and other members, aptly referred to as “marksmen.” These marksmen would consult an Excel spreadsheet, rumored to harbor an enigmatic formula believed to provide a winning edge. However, the exact nature of this formula remained shrouded in mystery, as no specifics were disclosed in the court documents.
Co-Conspirators and Legal Consequences
The net cast by the authorities extended to two additional individuals: Hung Jung-Hao, a 27-year-old Taiwanese national, and Chai Hee Keong, a 46-year-old Malaysian citizen, both of whom were formally charged. Meanwhile, three other individuals—Wang Yu (22), Hung Yu-Wen (24), and Chou Yu-Lun (26)—were implicated in the operation but avoided formal charges.
The group’s activities came to light when Hung Jung-Hao was apprehended in December 2022 after security cameras captured their suspicious behavior. Subsequently, other members attempted to escape to Malaysia but were ultimately detained. Astonishingly, they left behind a cache of $790,000 worth of casino chips in their Marina Bay Sands hotel rooms in their haste to flee.
Tan disclosed that he initially encountered Wang and Hung, a couple, in a Philippine casino during August 2022. Hung tantalizingly hinted at a winning system for baccarat, but Tan professed complete ignorance regarding the system’s inner workings. It was attributed to an elusive individual known only as “Kelvin.” Tan’s legal defense contended that no compelling evidence demonstrated fraudulent intent or cheating, leaving doubts about whether the formula truly impacted the game’s odds beyond the casino’s expectations.
Singapore’s stringent Casino Control Act stipulates severe penalties for individuals caught utilizing devices to count or record cards during casino gameplay. Convictions under this act could result in imprisonment for a maximum of seven years, a fine of up to S$150,000, or a combination of both penalties.