Macau police hunt for HK$48 million in gambling chips after Wynn casino robbery

Clifford Lo
Philippe Lopez | AFP | Getty Images

Macau authorities are tracking down almost HK$48 million worth of cash chips stolen from Wynn casino earlier this week, following the arrest of a debt-ridden croupier and his elderly relative in connection with the crime.

Four Wynn Macau chips were among banknotes and other items seized from the two suspects and shown to journalists at a police briefing in the former Portuguese colony on Friday.

The robbery – one of the largest in the world's biggest gambling hub – took place at about 7 am on Tuesday.

The 49-year-old croupier, surnamed Lei, was on duty with a female colleague inside the VIP gambling lounge, with no other staff or customers present, police said.

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"He shouted at his female colleague instructing her not to make any noise and ordering her to lie low on her gambling table," Macau police spokeswoman Yeung Sau-chan, said.

"He then returned to his gambling table where he picked up a black bag under the table before he loaded cash chips into the bag and left the entertainment venue."

She said HK$47.89 million worth of cash chips was stolen in the incident.

Investigations showed Lei ran out of the casino and fled on a motorcycle.

The motorbike was later found abandoned in a parking space, where officers found a casino uniform but no trace of the dealer.

Officers worked round the clock and found out Lei was expected to meet a male relative, 70, surnamed Ho, at a park in Taipa on Thursday evening.

Yeung said the croupier and his relative were picked up in the park without any resistance at about 6pm that day. Both men are residents of Macau, and Ho works as a security guard.

"HK$40,000 and 4,000 Macau dollars were found on Lei and another HK$22,500 and chips worth HK$20,100 were found on Ho," she said.

She said police were investigating whether the chips were part of Lei's loot.

Police said Lei worked as a security guard when he joined the casino in 2009 and became a croupier in 2011.

The spokeswoman said the croupier developed a gambling habit when he was young and investigations showed he was now heavily in debt.

It was understood most of the stolen chips are in high denominations.

Police in Macau said they were investigating whether others were involved in the crime.

Wynn Macau has not responded to the Post's request for comment.