Police Indentify suspects in Casino Scam

Phnom Penh police are searching for four individuals suspected of being involved in a high-tech card scam that cheated the capital’s Nagaworld Casino out of more than $1 million earlier this month, a police official said yesterday.

“We are seeking to arrest three Malaysian men and one Cambodian woman,” said Chay Sinarith, director of the internal security department at the Interior Ministry.

Lim Kim Hock, Lim Yuen Soo and Yong Heng Chai allegedly conspired with staff to cheat the casino out of $1.36 million while playing baccarat on Aug 29 and 30, Mr Sinarith said. Police are also looking for Nong Sothary, formerly a dealer at the casino, he added.

The gamblers fled to Malaysia after the scam was uncovered, and police are currently asking their Malaysian counterparts to help arrest them, Mr Sinarith said. Police believe Ms Sothary is still in the country, he added.

Khieu Chanary and Lim Boon Teng, a dealer and a security camera operator respectively, were charged on Sept 3 with fraud and breach of trust for their part in the scam. The two are currently awaiting trial in Prey Sar prison, according to Mr Sinarith.

Police released a statement yesterday detailing some of the evidence provided by Ms Chanary during her confession.

Ms Chanary claims the gamblers spent three months teaching her how to deal cards so they could be seen by a tiny camera placed in one of her shirt buttons, the statement read. The gamblers then used this information to cheat, it read.

Eric Chan, managing director of sales and marketing at Nagaworld, said the casino did not wish to comment on an ongoing police investigation.

Bill Zender, a US-based expert on casino security, said cheating at baccarat was becoming more common as the game gains in popularity.

“Baccarat is becoming a huge game…. Cheating in baccarat should be a big worry in the Far East,” he wrote in an e-mail.

However, he said that the amounts of money lost in such scams are small when compared to the amounts casinos win on a daily basis.

“I don’t know of any casino that went out of business due to theft or cheating,” he said.


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