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By Elena Chong
The Straits Times
Nov 5, 2016
Two more runners of a transnational fake casino chip syndicate were given jail sentences on Friday (Nov 4) for abetment in a conspiracy to use as genuine casino chips that they had reason to believe to be fakes.
Over two hours in November last year, sisters Lee Wenjie, 34, and Jeslyn Lee Wen Ting, 31, exchanged 17 fake $1,000 chips for $17,000 in cash and 23 counterfeit $1,000 chips for $23,000 in cash respectively.
On Friday (Nov 4), Wenjie was given seven months' jail after admitting to one count of conspiring with Chia Wai Tien, 47, and Toh Hock Thiam, 54, to exchange four pieces of fake chips with a face value of $1,000 each for cash at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino on Nov 22, 2015.
Twelve other similar charges were considered.
Jeslyn got five months after she pleaded guilty to one charge, and had six other charges considered.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jordon Li had told the court that runners were recruited by the syndicate to exchange more than a thousand $1,000 denomination casino chips at MBS.
Runners were told to first exchange a few fake chips at gaming tables for genuine chips of similar denominations, and then mix the real chips with the remaining fake ones and exchange the chips at cashier counters for cash.
To evade detection, they were told not to exchange more than $5,000 worth of chips at a time.
After they had completed their task, each runner would pass the money to his or her recruiter, and receive a sum of money as a reward.
MBS detected the scam only a week later and recalled all its $1,000 casino chips. It suffered losses of $1.3 million.
The court heard that sometime in November, Toh had asked Chia to recruit people to help in exchanging fake casino chips at MBS casino.
Chia then contacted Wenjie who was operating a pushcart business at Parklane Shopping Mall in Selegie Road.
Wenjie agreed to help Chia. She recruited her sister to exchange casino chips at the casino.
On Nov 22, Chia picked up Wenjie at a taxi stand at People's Park Centre and other women at the carpark in his car.
He dropped them at MBS casino and passed two bags, each containing 20 pieces of $1,000 denomination MBS casino chips, to Wenjie. Wenjie had arranged to meet her sister at the casino.
After she had completed her job, Wenjie met her sister and collected $23,000 from her.
Wenjie then contacted Chia and boarded his car. She handed $40,000 to Chia who gave her $1,200.
Wenjie then gave her sister $500.
Chia, who faced 174 charges in all, was jailed for five years last month (October) after admitting to 28 charges of engaging in a conspiracy to use as genuine chips that he had reason to believe to be counterfeit,
Toh's trial is ongoing.