$13.4 million dollar casino heist in Korea leaves cops baffled

Jon Pill
Published by:
Posted on 01/07/2021

The Landing International Limited may have recorded one of the biggest casino heists on record. And as far as we can tell, they still don’t know how it happened.

Landing is the company that owns Korea’s Jeju Shinwa World. Situated on the island of Jeju, Jeju Shinwa World is a massive resort and theme park. Among the Hotel Marriotts, medieval-themed rides, and the “food and beverage complex” is the Landing Casino.

The Landing Casino was host to 2018’s Triton Short Deck High Roller, this was one of the first sites from which short deck tourneys were broadcast. It also plays host to the Red Dragon Jeju tournament each year and is a regular stop on the APPT circuit.

One of our employees is missing

The report of the missing money was delivered in perhaps one of the least dramatic forms possible: an insider information announcement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The notice reads in part, “The board of directors of [Landing International Development (the “Group”)] wishes to inform the shareholders and potential investors of the Company that on 4 January 2021, the management of the Group discovered that certain funds amounting to approximately KRW14.56 billion (equivalent to approximately HK$103.8 million [or US$13.4 million]) belonging to the Group kept in Jeju, South Korea was missing (the “Incident”). Currently, the management of the Group is unable to reach the employee-in-charge of the funds. The Company has immediately reported the Incident to the police in South Korea and they are currently investigating the Incident.”

Inside information announcements are basically ways of making sure that information known only to a few potential investors is public record. This protects investors in the know from being culpable of insider trading. For anyone who hasn’t got round to watching Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, insider trading is a crime where someone trades a public stock based on information that is not publicly available.

Inside information announcements are not usually made for anything as exciting as a $13 million robbery and national manhunt.

But the unexplained loss of $13.4 million dollars and the potential reputation damage of looking like Andy Garcia in the Ocean’s Eleven remakes probably constitutes relevant information for all investors.

The corporate cost

Landing Casino could use that money about now. The COVID lockdowns in Korea have had an impact on the casino industry. Koreans themselves are largely banned from gambling except in the Kangwon Land Casino & Hotel — one of Landing’s competitors.

That means the Landing Casino is wholly dependent on the won of tourists to make ends meet.

South Korea’s recent COVID spike has caused a redoubled effort on the part of the Korean government’s efforts to stamp out the disease. Since Korea has taken the pandemic seriously from the first, a spike involves tens of deaths per day. The total deaths have just passed 1k for the year. This is roughly a third of the daily death count in the U.S.

On top of this, Landing has reported huge losses for 2020. The CEO, Lai Xiaomin, of of their creditors got the death sentence in China.

It’s been a rough year all round for Landing.

Featured image source: Twitter