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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Casino crooks beware

LAW ENFORCEMENT

CIB, a new unit within CID, to tackle gaming crimes

Zul Othman, zul@mediacorp.com.sg

A NEW law enforcement unit within the Criminal Investigation Department — the Casino Investigation Branch (CIB) — will be formed to detect and investigate casino-related crimes in the gaming industry here, it was revealed on Friday.

The CIB will share offices with the year-old Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) in each of Singapore’s two Integrated Resorts (IRs), due to open at the end of the year and in early 2010. The move will not only ensure that gaming in the IRs’ casinos are conducted honestly, it should also protect Singaporeans from gambling beyond their means, said CRA chairman Richard Magnus at the statutory board’s first work plan seminar.

Held at the Police Cantonment Complex, the seminar was attended by some 150 people from agencies such as the police, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS). Mr Magnus, a former senior district judge, told the gathering that what is also critical is inter-agency collaboration between the social services, police and other enforcement units.

“This lack of collaboration is found in some (gaming) jurisdictions, resulting in various problems (like) vice, corruption, high gambling addiction and poor law and order,” he noted. “Sustaining and institutionalising our multi-disciplinary approach is important against an industry where the nature of business is long term.”

In July, the CRA and the CIB will co-organise a training symposium to train and gear their officers for the opening of the two casinos in the IRs. Officials from other gaming jurisdictions are expected to train these officers on the latest industry practices.

This is crucial, as newly-opened casinos often fall prey to criminal groups looking to exploit the operators’ perceived inexperience, said Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, who delivered the keynote address at the seminar. “While we seek to reap the job and tourism benefits of the IR, we must guard against the fallout in crime and social problems,” said DPM Wong, who is also the Home Affairs Minister.

Among other things, the minister said the CRA must put in place a robust antimony laundering regime in line with international standards and ensure strict internal controls on key employees and associates.

www.channelnewsasia.com/video

From WEEKEND TODAY, News – 18, 19-Apirl-2009