Jeju authorities arrest missing suspect in theft of US$13.4 million from Landing Casino

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South Korean officials have reopened their investigation into the theft of KRW14.6 billion (US$13.4 million at the time) in cash from safe at Jeju’s Landing Casino after one of the suspects was arrested in Dubai.

According to information from Korean news outlet Munhwa, the suspect, known as Mr A, was arrested while trying to board a flight from Dubai back to Incheon International Airport.

A police official is quoted as saying, “Right after the incident, Mr A, who had been on a red wanted notice from Interpol, was arrested in Dubai, and will be repatriated to Jeju to investigate the circumstances of the incident and his reason for voluntarily entering [Korea].”

The case made headlines in early January 2021 when Landing International Development Ltd, owner and operator of Landing Casino at Jeju Shinhwa World, announced it had discovered KRW14.6 billion missing from a safe in a VIP room at the casino.

A 50-year-old female employee was later arrested and charged the 50-year-old Malaysian with embezzlement, however two accomplices, referred to as Mr A and Mr B, fled the country with Interpol issuing a red warrant at the request of Jeju officials.

Despite the case having temporarily gone cold, authorities did manage to locate most of the missing funds last year, with KRW8.5 billion (US$6.5 million found stored in a separate safe at Landing Casino and KRW4.9 billion (US$3.7 million) at the suspect’s home. Another KRW1 billion (US$759,000) is believed to have been sent overseas.

The recovered funds are currently being held in a Jeju bank and it is yet to be determined whether Landing will be able to reclaim its money.

Under South Korea’s Article 8 of the Act on the Concealment of Crime Profits and Punishment Act, all criminal proceeds and property derived from crime, profits related to criminal activities, and property obtained from compensation for criminal activities are subject to confiscation. They can only be returned to the claimant pending the judgement of the court following prosecution of the accused, but if identified as criminal funds are to be redirected to the national treasury instead.

A similar situation occurred in 2011 when KRW11 billion (US$9.8 million) was found buried under a garlic field and eventually confiscated after being found to be the proceeds of an internet gambling operation.

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