Jailed: Man behind Singapore’s biggest counterfeit casino chip scam

Photo: Southern Arkansas University/Flickr
Photo: Southern Arkansas University/Flickr

For cheating the Marina Bay Sands casino of more than a million dollars, Toh Hock Thiam was jailed seven years and four months on Wednesday (June 7). The 55-year-old was the brains behind the operation that was Singapore’s biggest casino chip scam since both casinos opened in 2010.

Back in 2015 on Nov 22, Toh had 16 runners cash in his counterfeit chips at the MBS casino. Apparently, the fake chips were of the “best quality”, according to the Casino Regulatory Authority.

These imitation chips possessed five out of the nine security features on real ones, and it took a lot more than a glance by the naked eye to distinguish the differences between them.

It was only one week after the incident that a casino cashier realized one of the $1,000 chips had a tiny defect. With special equipment, the revelation came that this chip was one of the 1,291 fake ones cashed in.

“Mastermind” Toh had two helpers who assembled the 16 runners and distributed the counterfeit chips in a restroom to avoid being caught on CCTV cameras, according to Channel NewsAsia. The runners later walked into the casino together and cashed in the chips, leaving before the next morning.

But out of the 1,291 fake chips, only 420 (with a value of $420,000) could be traced back to Toh. However, the chips were “all the same”, so it was deduced that Toh either had a hand in the manufacturing and distribution of the chips, or he had connections.

It was revealed that Toh had deposited $335,400 into his bank account on Nov 23, and withdrew almost all of it by Dec 1 when he realized the police were hot on his tail. He made a run for it to Malaysia, but was arrested on Dec 31 and extradited to Singapore the following day.

He faced 13 charges under the Casino Control Act and was slapped with a guilty sentence after a 14-day trial. Another 162 charges were taken into consideration, among them a charge for leaving the country illegally.

Toh’s two helpers are now serving jail terms of 60 and 12 months; 13 runners have been slapped with jail sentences between five and 14 months, while the other three have not yet been caught.


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