SINGAPORE: A Taiwanese man has admitted his links to a foreign syndicate that unlawfully recorded cards during games at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino.
Hung Jung-Hao, 28, is the second person to be convicted in Singapore in the case, which saw the syndicate winning a total of $433,730 at the tables from Dec 16 to Dec 23, 2022.
Hung, who has not made restitution, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Casino Control Act on Dec 6.
He is expected to be sentenced on Dec 28.
Another group member, Malaysian Tan Kian Yi, 35, was sentenced to three years and four months’ jail in November.
The case involving another Malaysian man, Chai Hee Keong, 46, is pending.
Three Taiwanese – Wang Yu, 22; his girlfriend Hung Yu-Wen, 24; and Hung Jung-Hao’s girlfriend Chou Yu-Lun, 26 – are said to be also involved in the syndicate, but court documents did not disclose the outcome of their cases.
In August 2022, Tan met Hung Yu-Wen for the first time when he visited a casino in the Philippines. She asked Tan if he was interested to win money by playing baccarat, a card game, and he expressed his interest.
Two months later, he met her and Wang in Singapore, where they stayed at MBS and observed baccarat games at the casino.
They met again in the Philippines in November 2022, and Hung Yu-Wen told Tan that she had a “formula” that could help them win in baccarat.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Zhi Jie said the formula was developed by a man known only as Kelvin.
Tan agreed to join the couple to win money by using the formula, which was in the form of an Excel sheet.
Hung Yu-Wen taught Tan how to use the formula and gave him a set of codes to memorise. The codes referred to the values and suits of the cards in baccarat games.
She also told Tan he would be keying the codes into the Excel sheet after someone transmitted information to him.
The formula would then generate an output that predicted the game’s next outcome.
Chai joined the syndicate later, said the DPP.
The offenders met in Singapore on Dec 15, 2022. The group’s strategy involved a female syndicate member, known as the “sorcerer”. She wore a concealed earphone connected to her mobile phone via Bluetooth at a gaming table in the casino.
She would relay information on the cards to an accomplice stationed elsewhere.
This accomplice, known as the “marksman”, would feed the information into the Excel spreadsheet formula to get an answer and then tell the “sorcerer” how to place her bets. Tan was one such “marksman”.
Hung Jung-Hao took on the role of an “auxiliary”. He was tasked to sit at the gambling table beside the “sorcerer” and usually placed small bets.
The DPP said: “(He) took advice from Tan on how to perform the role well. He was told to make small talk with others at the baccarat table so that Chou, who was the ‘sorcerer’, could focus on her role and not talk to others.”
The group operated here until Dec 23, 2022, before casino staff watched closed-circuit television footage and noticed the syndicate members’ conduct.
On Dec 24, 2022, Hung Jung-Hao went to the casino alone to gamble and was arrested by the police soon after.
Suspecting he had been caught when he became uncontactable, the other syndicate members left Singapore the following day.
Tan was arrested in Malaysia in February 2023 while Chai was caught at the Woodlands Checkpoint four months later. - The Straits Times/ANN