Jeju Shinhwa World Casino Heist: Major Suspect Arrested

Posted: November 15, 2022, 6:57 a.m.

Last update: November 15, 2022, 7:29 a.m.

South Korean authorities have reluctantly arrested and released a major suspect in the 2021 heist of Landing International’s Jeju Shinhwa World Casino on the resort town of Jeju.

Jeju Shinhwa World Casino
Enter the Wu: The suspect, center, is escorted by police at Incheon International Airport after arriving from a flight from Dubai. (Photo: Daum News1)

A Chinese national, identified only by Korean media by his last name “Wu” or “Woo”, was intercepted at Incheon airport, which serves Seoul.

Wu, a junket casino operator, arrived on a flight from Dubai on November 2. Jeju authorities considered him a fugitive and requested an Interpol Red Notice. But Wu appears to have voluntarily returned to South Korea.

“The Case of Evaporation”

When the equivalent of US$13.38 million in South Korean currency simply disappeared from a safe deposit box at Jeju Shinhwa World in January 2021, it was dubbed the “14.5 evaporation case.” billion won” by local media.

Shinhwa World is a massive casino destination, featuring hotels, several theme parks, a water park, and a K-Pop-themed entertainment center. It opened in 2018.

News of the missing money sent shares of Landing down 7.6% on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

At first, the theft mystified law enforcement, as such a large sum of money would be heavy and extremely difficult to transport.

The security video corresponding to the time of the flight had been erased. About 291,200 individual tickets were missing, each worth 50,000 won ($38). It would weigh over 617 pounds. Police suspected that at least two attackers were involved due to the money clutter.

And the difficulty of transporting it undetected through airports or seaports led them to believe that the money was probably still on the island. But where?

inner work

The break in the case came when Jeju cops investigated Lim Mo, 56, a Chinese Malaysian executive who managed funds at the casino. She had gone on vacation before Christmas and was now incommunicado.

Lim was one of the few rulers who possessed the keys to the safe from which the money had disappeared.

When the police searched the casino, they discovered that most of the missing money had simply been transferred from the casino vault to another nearby private vault rented by Wu.

Police believe Lim and Wu conspired to move the equivalent of approximately US$6.5 million from Wu’s safe. They also believe Lim asked another conspirator, identified only as Mr. Oh , to move an additional $3.7 million to housing in Jeju City where she was staying. This has also been recovered.

The rest of the money, around $750,000, is believed to have been sent overseas by Oh, a stockbroker, who was arrested shortly after the theft.

Court scuttles arrest

Wu denies any wrongdoing, according to Korean press. He claims that the money transferred to his safe is his and was obtained through gambling. He said he traveled abroad for “personal reasons and not for the purpose of escaping to the investigation”.

Wu is not currently in custody after a judge denied the Jeju Police Agency’s arrest warrant request on the grounds that it may be his money.

Landing International says no.

Lim remains a fugitive on an Interpol Red Notice and is believed to be in Dubai.

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