SINGAPORE: Three friends from China flew to Singapore for a holiday and to gamble, but conspired to steal casino chips using super glue on their palms if they lost money gambling.
The thief who had hatched the plot bought two bottles of super glue online and handed them to his accomplice, who had an eye condition.
The latter was to tell authorities that the bottles contained eye drops if any questions were raised.
After visiting the casino for multiple days in March 2023, the thief who had come up with the plot was caught red-handed by another gambler, who grabbed his hand and saw the chip stuck to his palm.
Huang Chunsheng, 50, was sentenced to eight months’ jail. Zheng Jiansheng, 64, who had the eye condition and stole the most chips, was given 10 months’ jail. Jiang Renjing, 55, received seven months’ jail.
The court heard that the three men had arrived in Singapore on Mar 6 this year on social visit passes that allowed them to stay for only 14 days.
Before arriving in Singapore without return tickets, Huang hatched a plan to steal chips if he lost money gambling by applying super glue to his palm.
His modus operandi involved him passing his palm over a casino chip, so the chip stuck to the glue, allowing him to conceal the chip from view and pocket it.
Huang shared his plan with Zheng and Jiang at the Guangzhou airport in China. He handed two bottles of super glue to Zheng, who had an eye condition and could not see in one eye.
He knew that Zheng’s condition required him to apply eye drops every day to prevent infection, so he got Zheng to carry the bottles and say they contained eye drops if questioned by customs officers.
When they landed in Singapore, they went to the Marina Bay Sands casino every day for six days until they were caught.
At their hotel on Mar 7, Huang showed the other two men how to use super glue to “stick” a casino chip onto his palm. The two men watched and practised the technique with bottle caps and casino chips. They had both lost money at the casino and wanted to recoup their losses.
At first, they planned to divide the profits equally, but later decided that each thief was to keep whatever money he stole.
The trio went to the casino every day from Mar 6 to Mar 11, going their separate ways after reaching the venue.
They would steal casino chips from other patrons after using up their own chips, using the super glue technique. They would apply the glue on their palms in the toilet before heading out to gamble.
The three men targeted gamblers who had placed large bets with a whole stack of chips, so it would be harder for them to realise some chips were missing.
HUANG CAUGHT RED-HANDED
Huang was eventually caught red-handed by a gambler on Mar 11. The victim realised that his casino chip had gone missing after Huang placed his hand near his stack of chips.
The victim immediately grabbed Huang’s hand and realised that the chip was stuck onto Huang’s palm. The victim told the dealer what happened, while Huang hurriedly retracted his wager and left.
He told Zheng and Jiang that he could not go back as he had been caught, and suggested heading to the casino at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) instead.
The three men were arrested at RWS Casino on Mar 11, 2023. In total, they had stolen S$1,575 worth of casino chips.
The trio pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiring to steal. Zheng also pleaded guilty to two other charges of cheating while gambling under the Casino Control Act – where he also used the super glue method.
The prosecutor sought seven to nine months’ jail for Huang and Jiang. For Huang, she asked for between eight and 10 months’ jail.
The offence was premeditated and involved a “high level of sophistication”, she said.
There is a very strong public interest in deterring criminal activities in casinos, which are “potential hotbeds” for such activities, said the prosecutor.
In mitigation, Zheng said via a Mandarin interpreter that he was lowly educated and did not know how to express himself well in words.
Zheng, who applied eye drops regularly throughout the hearing, said he knew that he had broken the law. He asked for leniency, saying he had cooperated with the police.
Jiang said this was his first time travelling overseas and his first time in Singapore. He asked the court to consider that he was a first-time offender and be lenient.
Huang pleaded for leniency, saying he had two elderly parents in their 80s and a child in primary school to support.
The judge said he had considered the case and while the prosecution had asked for the same sentence for the theft charge, each person played different roles and had different levels of criminality.
He told Zheng that he had the most instances of cheating at casinos and stole the largest amount of money, and a distinction must be drawn.