A Public Security Police (PSP) officer and his wife have been arrested for allegedly cheating two men out of HK$10 million (US$1.29 million) in a casino chip redemption deal, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Choi Ian Fai told a special press conference on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old suspect surnamed Chan joined the Public Security Police in 2006, while his 25-year-old jobless wife surnamed Zhao is a mainlander who holds an Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao (informally known as “two-way permit”). The couple married in 2018 in Macao.
According to Choi, the two men reported the case to the police on Friday. They told the police that they work in Macao and got to know some mainlanders who have VIP room accounts in local casinos.
Choi did not release any further information on the two victims.
Since due to the COVID-19 crisis local casinos have changed their rules according to which VIP account holders currently can only get chips instead of cash from their VIP accounts, some of the account holders had asked the two men to assist them in exchanging the chips into cash. The two men were promised a 7 per cent commission by the account holders.
Choi said the two men met Chan through a friend on 25 August. Chan told them that he’s a police officer and claimed that he and his wife could assist them in redeeming the chips. The couple asked the two men for a 6 per cent commission.
The two men struck several deals with the couple in August and last month the couple assisted them in exchanging chips worth about HK$20 million into cash.
When reporting the case to the police, the two men said they had received the HK$20 million in cash from the couple in about seven days after they had handed over the chips.
According to Choi, the two men gave Chan 10 chips worth HK$10 million on 7 September who promised that he could redeem the chips for cash within two to three days. However, Chan told the two men on 10 September that he was unable to give them the money as he had gambled away the 10 chips – each worth HK$1 million – with his wife in local casinos in the past few days.
After the victims’ numerous requests, Chan finally signed an IOU but he had only paid them HK$1.08 million just a few days before the victims reported the case to the police and after Chan had vanished.
Choi said PJ officers intercepted Zhao at the Barrier Gate checkpoint early Monday, while Chan was detained in a flat in Toi San district on Tuesday.
The couple refused to cooperate with the police but admitted that they were not able to exchange the chips into cash, Choi said.
According to Choi, the police have gathered evidence such as messages from the suspects’ smartphones, CCTV footage and information provided by the casino VIP room, indicating that the couple committed fraud.
The couple were transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) on Wednesday, facing a fraud charge involving a considerable amount, officially defined as exceeding MOP 150,000, facing between two to 10 years behind bars, according to Choi.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Secretary for Security said in a statement last night that they are greatly concerned about the alleged crime committed by one of their officers.
The statement said Chan will be subject to disciplinary proceedings, adding that the suspect has been suspended from duty with immediate effect.