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Star Casino Gambler Fled to China After Fake Chips Discovered

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Posted on: May 6, 2024, 11:36h. 

Last updated on: May 6, 2024, 11:56h.

A gambler who used “exceptionally high-grade counterfeit chips” in an attempt to defraud Sydney’s Star Casino last month sprinted from the premises and escaped on a flight to China just hours later, Australia’s Daily Telegraph reports.

Star Casino, Sydney, fake chips
The Star Casino Sydney, above. Police speculate that the suspect in a chip counterfeiting case may have been planning to pull off a much bigger fraud at the casino but fled when the fakes were spotted by eagle-eyed staff. (Image: Reuters)

The unnamed Chinese national arrived in Australia on March 29 and headed to the casino within an hour of booking into his hotel room, according to New South Wales Police.

At around 11:30 p.m., he went to the casino cage to request a color change. When cashiers became suspicious of the chips he presented, the man fled, leaving $10K in chips on the counter.

Mission Aborted

Security video of the incident shows a man dressed in black with white sneakers running away from the casino and dodging a security guard’s attempts to catch him.

Just 10 minutes later, the man checked out of his hotel, The Oaks Sydney Goldsbrough Suites, and headed to the airport, catching a flight at around 8 a.m.

Investigators found an additional $24K in fake chips circulating in the casino. They believe this may have been a test run for defrauding the casino of a much larger sum.

Police said they don’t know where the chips were made, but think the suspect took some real ones back with him to China after a previous visit in January. On that occasion, he was in Sydney for less than 24 hours before returning to China. Investigators declined to reveal how casino staff were able to detect the fakes.

Fakes on the Rise

Chips have become more difficult to counterfeit in recent years thanks to techniques like embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and ultraviolet stamping. But conversely, their use in casinos has been on the rise because it has become easier to buy realistic fakes online, often via the dark web.

They were exceptionally high-grade counterfeits,” Detective Superintendent Peter Faux, head of the NSW Organized Crime Squad, told the Telegraph. “Star reported the discovery within minutes of being aware of them and [has] been of great assistance to our investigation.

“The man was here on a temporary visa and used his real name and traveled on a genuine passport,” Faux added. “He had prebooked the hotel room for three days from March 29, but left on March 30.”

NSW Police said they are communicating with Interpol and Chinese authorities as part of their investigation.

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