Hong Kong police

Police officer accused of stealing HK$800,000 in gambling chips at Macau casino to be suspended

Officer allegedly swiped chips and ran before being apprehended at door

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 September, 2017, 7:54pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 September, 2017, 11:06pm

A Hong Kong police officer accused of stealing HK$800,000 worth of gambling chips from a Macau casino will be suspended from duty, the force said on Saturday.

The alleged theft took place on September 22 at a casino in the Cotai area of the gaming hub, according to reports.

A mainland Chinese visitor had been exchanging gambling chips with a dealer when the male police officer, who was off duty at the time, swiped them off the table and made a run for it.

But he was stopped at the door of the casino by security personnel and later arrested on suspicion of robbery.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Police Force said an officer with its police tactical unit had been arrested in a criminal case in Macau and was being detained by the relevant authorities.

“The force attaches great importance to the conduct of officers. The force will not tolerate any officer who commits an offence, and will deal with the case seriously,” the spokesman said in a statement on Saturday. “A disciplinary review will be conducted after local criminal investigations and judicial proceedings have been completed.”

Reports in Macau said the officer, 28, had lost money gambling prior to the incident.

Macau’s Judiciary Police could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

A total of seven Hong Kong police officers were arrested for various criminal offences in the first half of this year, according to police figures.

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Three were detained for drink-driving, dangerous driving or street gambling. Another three were held by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the city’s graft watchdog.

The police force’s director of operations, Chris Tang Ping-keung, earlier said that one crime committed by a police officer was “one too many”.

Last year, a total of 21 officers were arrested, marking a 40 per cent increase compared with the year before, according to police figures reported to the security panel of Hong Kong’s legislature.