Key suspect flees country in Kangwon casino case

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Key suspect flees country in Kangwon casino case

A man suspected of planting hidden cameras in Kangwon Land Casino fled overseas, making it difficult for police to track down key suspects who possibly bankrolled workers at the casino.

The Jeongseon Precinct Police in Gangwon yesterday said that a 57-year-old surnamed Lee, who is suspected of getting two Kangwon Land workers surnamed Hwang, 41, and Kim, 34, to plant subminiature cameras in the card boxes attached to gambling tables, fled to China on Thursday while they were investigating the two suspects last week.

The police figured out during the weekend that Lee is a CCTV engineer living in Seoul.

The police said they were able to identify Lee while they were interrogating Hwang at 7 p.m. on Thursday, when an investigator found Lee’s last name on the recent call lists of Hwang’s cell phone.

The police said they discovered Lee was Hwang’s accomplice in the evening, but Lee was already on a plane that left at 6:30 p.m. from Gimpo International Airport for Shanghai, China.

The police said that they are trying to figure out Lee’s whereabouts and urge him back to Korea though his acquaintances.

The police are also tracking down the customer who found the planted hidden camera on the gambling table.

The police said that officials of Kangwon Land said the customer demanded the casino to pay him for not telling anyone about the hidden camera.

“The customer blackmailed us, saying he would disclose the incident to the media if we didn’t pay him,” a spokesman for the casino told the JoongAng Ilbo.

The police are also wondering if the customer was a member of a rival gambling gang.

They said the casino found CCTV footage that shows him moving around the casino with a group of men.

The casino said the customer looked like the boss of the group.

Six to seven men who appeared to be in their late 30s escorted him everywhere he went, including the time he visited an office of the casino to inform them of the existence of the camera.

The police said they have investigated eight gamblers who played at the table but failed to find anything, and that no one has garnered particularly big winnings from the table.


By Lee Chan-ho, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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