Three local men and a woman were arrested on Tuesday for selling 15 fake casino chips worth HK$100,000 each and defrauding two local men out of HK$1.47 million, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Chan Wun Man said at a special press conference on Wednesday.
The four suspects include a 29-year-old taxi driver surnamed Leong, a 30-year-old jobless man surnamed Chio, a 32-year-old jobless woman surnamed Ma and a 33-year-old chauffeur surnamed Leong.
According to Chan, there are two victims, aged 35 and 33, who told the police that they are businessmen, and a witness who is a friend of the second victim.
Chan said a casino in Zape reported early Monday to the Judiciary Police that their cashier had discovered 15 fake chips worth HK$100,000 each which were handed in by a man who requested to exchange them into smaller denomination chips.
As none of the chips were able to pass the casino’s detection device the cashier suspected they were counterfeit and notified the police based at the casino.
PJ officers confirmed that the 15 chips with a total value of HK$1.5 million are fake, Chan said.
According to Chan, the second victim met a woman surnamed Ma in November last year. Ma claimed to be able to help the victim buy casino cash chips at a lower price than their face value, at a rate of 0.981.
Ma told the second victim on Sunday night that cash chips worth HK$1.5 million were available “for sale” in a casino in Zape for HK$1,471,500 in cash. The second victim told the first victim about it as he needed cash chips worth HK$1.1 million to repay his gambling debts at another casino. The two victims subsequently contacted Ma to proceed with the deal, according to Chan.
Chan said the second victim had arranged for a friend to be a witness and to withdraw HK$1,471,500 in cash from a VIP room in Zape early on Monday. The unnamed witness met Ma, the taxi driver surnamed Leong and an unnamed accomplice at the VIP room to process the deal. After the accomplice handed the fake chips to the witness, Ma received the cash and counted the money.
Money put in a bag
Afterwards, Ma put all the money in a bag and gave it to the accomplice, according to the spokesman.
Chan said the second victim had purchased cash chips worth HK$400,000 for HK$392,500, while the first victim purchased chips worth HK$1.1 million for HK$1,079,000. After the deal, the accomplice who had the bag of money left the scene. Ma and Leong left later. The witness immediately took the 15 chips to another VIP room to pay the gambling debts for the second victim and later was told by the casino staff that all the chips were counterfeit.
According to Chan, PJ officers later discovered that the three suspects (Ma, Leong and the unnamed accomplice) had met Chio and the chauffeur surnamed Leong in Coloane and Iao Hon district in the early hours of the same day. The officers believe that they “discussed something” and then left the two locations.
According to Chan, on Tuesday, PJ officers located the four suspects and arrested them at their home and on the street in the northern district, except the accomplice who at the time of the press conference was still on the run with the bag of money.
Upon questioning, Ma only confessed that she was responsible for arranging for the accomplice to go to the casino to sell the fake chips there, and all of them refused to cooperate with the police. PJ officers are continuing their investigation, looking for the whereabouts of the cash, according to Chan.
The quartet were transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) on Wednesday, facing a fraud charge involving a considerable amount, officially defined as exceeding MOP 150,000, according to Chan.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
Photo by The Macau Post Daily/Iong Tat Choi