Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Micro Video Camera Baccarat Scam Hits Korea...Prime Casino Cheat Suspect Flees to China

Source: Dong-a Ilbo

A person suspected of getting a hidden camera installed at Kangwon Land Casino to cheat at games is known to have fled to China, said police in Jeongseon, Gangwon Province on Monday.

The suspect departed for Shanghai from Seoul Thursday last week, police said. Two casino workers who were arrested informed investigators of the suspect`s mobile phone number while identifying him through surveillance camera footage, but the suspect had fled.

Police also said, "Though an extradition treaty with China took effect in April 2002, we have yet to request Chinese cooperation with the investigation. We`re urging the suspect`s acquaintances to help him return."

The probe is expected to be prolonged due to the overseas flight of the suspect. Known to have been the middle man between scheming gamblers and casino workers, he is suspected of ordering the two staff members to move a card box with tiny video cameras installed to a baccarat table, promising them 10 percent of profits.

Police are also probing 21 players who were at the game tables when the card box was found a week ago. After questioning eight of them, investigators found that one player won 1.6 million won (1,421 U.S. dollars) but found no suspicious circumstances.

Two gamblers who said they saw a red light coming from a card box initially agreed to face police questioning, but did not show up as scheduled Wednesday. Police said they will ask them how they found the card box in addition to asking about other situations.

Despite news of the scandal, the casino was packed with customers Monday, with more than 6,000 going there weekdays and 8,000 weekends. Immediately after the casino opened at 10 a.m., most of the seats were taken except for certain machine games.

At the most popular baccarat and blackjack tables, people had to stand behind seats that were occupied. All of them seemed unaffected by the hidden camera scandal.

A man in his 50s who was waiting for a seat at a blackjack table said, "I don`t care because the cheating gamblers did no harm to other gamblers. You lose money as you play casino longer. Does this mean that gambling is a legal act of fraud?"

My take: Seems like a big to-do about a sophisticated high-tech baccarat cheat scam that garnered little money.