Wynn Macau VIP Dealer in $6.1 Million Casino Chip Heist Still at Large, Police Arrest Three for Releasing Information

Posted on: January 18, 2018, 09:00h. 

Last updated on: January 18, 2018, 09:00h.

The theft of $6.1 million in gaming chips from the Wynn Macau on Tuesday is being attributed by local authorities to a male VIP room dealer at the casino, who remains at large.

Macau casino heist Wynn
Macau police are on high alert for a Wynn Macau VIP room dealer who allegedly stole more than $6 million in gaming chips on Tuesday. (Image: Dickson Lee/South China Morning Post)

Judiciary Police have already made other arrests in relation to the robbery, however. Three locals were taken into custody for sharing confidential information about the identity of the VIP dealer to social media channels, including WeChat and Facebook.

All three reportedly work at the Wynn Macau, and obtained the police documents from the casino’s security department. They’ve been charged with “breaching judicial confidentiality,” a crime that could put them behind bars for two years. They have all confessed to sharing the confidential document.

Suspect Caught on Camera

On January 16, Macau Judiciary Police confirmed that HKD$47.9 million ($6.1 million) in gaming chips had been stolen from a casino. The law enforcement agency did not specific which one, but Wynn Macau officials confirmed to various media outlets, including Reuters, that the resort was where the theft occurred.

The Macau News Agency is reporting that the suspect is a 50-year-old man, whose take included roughly 30 chips, valued at HKD$1 million ($127,930) each. The remaining chip values, which added up to approximately another $2.23 million, were smaller denominations.

Surveillance video shows the suspect placing the gaming chips into a bag before exiting the property. Police added that there’s no evidence to suggest that he was armed.

A recent study from a Hong Kong security firm found that many Macau resorts remain vulnerable to various level of crime, including terrorism.

Not Soft on Crime

The Asian gambling enclave’s casinos won $33 billion last year, but despite the money influx that flows through the world’s richest gambling hub, thefts are relatively rare. When they do occur, casino employees are typically involved.

The last major Macau casino heist took place in 2016, when junket middlemen pocketed $12.75 million from the operations of at least 10 VIP rooms that should have gone to casinos.

While Macau is a special administrative region of China that has its own laws when it comes to gaming and taxation, it does adhere to strict penalties, similar to those enforced by the People’s Republic, when it comes to crime.

According to the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Criminology, a text widely used to interpret the complexities of the Chinese judicial system, penalties for those found guilty of high-value theft in Macau include up to 15 years in prison, and often forced labor.

Chinese prisons are also some of the most brutal detention centers in the world. Last fall, a human rights attorney working to expose the prison system was himself jailed for “inciting subversion of state power,” a charge often placed on critics of the Communist Party.  

Those accused of crimes additionally have little recourse. Chinese prosecutors have a 99.9 percent success rate when it comes to convictions.