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Mastermind of biggest ever counterfeit casino chip scam in Singapore jailed

Tags: casino fraud, counterfeit chips, Sinapore, Toh Hock Thiam.
Posted on 08 June 2017 by "T".

No one would ever suspect a man of senior age could find it in his heart to do this, but it's true that not all of our elderly folk want to lead a life of only good deeds when they reach their golden years. There are a few who, let's put it this way, wants to experience that unusual thrill which can only be done when you commit crime, and if things go their way, hopefully get away with it.

In 2015, Toh Hock Thiam has hired runners to exchange his counterfeit chips for cash at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, cheating the casino of a whopping S$1,291,000!

The mastermind of Singapore's biggest ever casino chip scam, 55-year-old Toh Hock Thiam, was jailed Wednesday, June 7. His jail sentence is seven years and four months.

Toh faced 13 charges under the Casino Control Act, in which he was found guilty after a trial that lasted 14 days. Taken into consideration were other 162 charges, including a charge for illegally fleeing the country.

On November 22, 2015, Toh had hired 16 runners who all cashed the fake chips at the Marina Bay Sands casino, cheating the company of S$1,291,000. This is by far the biggest scam of its type ever since Singapore launched two casinos in 2010.

A week later after Toh's accomplices cashed the fake chips, a casino cashier had noticed that there was a minor defect on one of the chips, which was worth S$1000. Upon closer inspection with the use of a specialized device, it turned out that the chip was counterfeit. A total of 1,291 fake chips were found.

According to the Casino Regulatory Authority, the fake chips were of the "best quality" it had seen so far. The fake casino chips possess five of the nine security features that the genuine chips have and were so expertly made that they could really fool even the most-experienced casino manager.

Prosecutors said, "This would have required financial resources and specialized knowledge and skills, typically only available to (criminal organizations)".

As the brains behind this scam, Toh enlisted two men, Chia Wei Tien and Soew Piak Long, who in turn recruited 16 runners. The two also aided Toh to distribute the fake chips in a toilet in the casino, where they could effectively avoid CCTV cameras.

Together, the runners entered the casino and exchanged the chips for cash. They were nowhere to be found the next morning.

The next day, November 23, 2015, Toh deposited (the suspicious) S$335,400 into his bank account. However, by December 1, he withdrew nearly all of it when he found out that the authorities were pursuing him. He was caught and arrested on December 31 as he fled across the border to Malaysia, and on the next day he was extradited to Singapore.

Asoka Markandu, Deputy Public Prosecutor, stated Toh declined to cooperate with the investigators, "He offered no leads ... nor identified any of the contact numbers or photographs that were shown to him."

With that, the prosecutor proposed a jail sentence of seven and a half years for Toh, stating that "a strong deterrent message must be sent to dissuade syndicates from operating here. Syndicates are often associated with the underworld and we cannot let these syndicates spread their tentacles here."

Even if Marina Bay Sands found a total of 1,291 fake chips, only 420 of them (worth S$420,000) were traced back to Toh. Markandu said, "But the chips were ‘all the same', so Toh was either involved in the manufacture and distribution of all the chips or he knew someone."

For the scam, Toh potentially faces up to seven years in jail and/or fined up to S$150,000 per charge.

Chia and Seow are currently serving jail sentences of 12 and 60 months respectively. Thirteen runners have also been sentenced between five and 14 months behind bars. The remaining three runners are still at large.



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13 comments on "Mastermind of biggest ever counterfeit casino chip scam in Singapore jailed"

 pochui08/06/2017 08:34:09 GMT
well that was a great scheme... cannot say that i am overly disappointed with the fact that casino was totally owned and actually even think that more of such crimes should be implemented against the house... one way or another casino's must be beaten.
 Mober08/06/2017 21:49:28 GMT
I wondered why the trial lasted so long, but if you consider just the reading of the "other charges"
which were 162...
They took the law book and they charged him with anything it had into it? lol
And he was working along with 16 others. wow
 doubletop77709/06/2017 07:53:10 GMT
It really fascinates me how people's minds work. I could never even imagine where to start to try and pull this off. I am glad he got caught and will now have to serve a long time behind bars
 DaCapo7109/06/2017 08:49:56 GMT
I lol every time, when i read this kind of casino news. And this elder man are also a funny guy and i´m wondering why he do that. Perhaps he felt boring and deedet some action in his life Big Smile But ok, only importand was, that some guy looked at him Blink
 dule-vu09/06/2017 10:41:00 GMT
he,he,only asian people can make such a good story and to make this fake chips!and I am suprised that they took so much money and everything crashed,because one chip had mistake!so probably they wouldnt caught him ever!
 Mober09/06/2017 22:08:57 GMT
These stories are the ones coming out.
With so many casinos all over the planet, i bet there a more than a few that have managed
to scam a casino successfully and we will never get to know it..
Unless they make a movie for it , in the future Smile
 Tony_MON7ANA10/06/2017 16:41:40 GMT
I am now looking at a picure of the 55-year-old suspect sitting in the backseat of a police car, handcuffed. He looks like an avuncular city bus driver or a friendly host at a restaurant. Appearances are deceptive.
 Gerimantas10/06/2017 19:47:29 GMT
Very simple olan but worked well of course until all things were known to casino. I think it is better to try to make fake casino chips then fake money bills. Making money is a lot harder I think, so these guys created a nice and profitable plan but it didn't work
 pajalnick10/06/2017 21:08:04 GMT
Any scam will someday open up ... and if it does not reveal it means everything turned out and we will never know about it ..... Asian people, it seems to me, with all diligence at every opportunity will try to deceive ... I say this from the experience of communication with them
 pochui11/06/2017 09:38:45 GMT
i am just a little bit disappointed seeing this so called crime being rewarder with such a harsh punishment when casino's themselves getting away with scamming people each and every day with their free booze and games with house edge... me ponders that there should be no punishment here- just return the money and end of story...
 dule-vu11/06/2017 11:27:58 GMT
problem is when people see that this scam work,they dont know when to stop and they want more and more money!its same when you gamble,you need to know when to stop!if he stoped with this,he could enjoy with over a million till rest of life,but that wasnt enough!
 Odysseus10111/06/2017 13:51:12 GMT
That's a dissatisfying article. This accused had no connections to organized crime? What would it take to produce such good quality counterfeit chips? The only interesting fact is that the guy is older?
 Gerimantas11/06/2017 19:59:16 GMT
Yes I too think he is in a gang or something like this, because very well organized system, many people in this plan and chops that are not real but look veeyb real so if pokice get this man I think there are many people still free who are part of this crime.

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