Apparently, heavy lifting was involved in the reported theft of over KRW14.5b (US$13.4m) in cash from South Korean casino operator Landing International Development Limited‘s Jeju Shinhwa World resort casino. The missing funds reportedly consisted entirely of 50k ($46) Korean won notes, which would tip the scales at over 617 lbs. in total.

In its “inside information announcement” to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK) earlier this week, the company somewhat reluctantly revealed that on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, the funds were determined to be “missing,” and that an employee of its gaming venue on South Korea’s Jeju Island had apparently absconded with the loot.

Investigation launched:

According to The Korea Times, an investigation into the heist was launched by the police following a report filed Tuesday by the parent company’s local affiliate, Landing Entertainment Korea, operator of the foreigner-only casino.

The source goes on to report that the company filed a complaint with the police against a Malaysian employee who purportedly was in charge of fund management and who went m.i.a. at the same time as the cash was discovered missing and after not returning to work from a year-end vacation.

Hefty load:

The police investigation will reportedly attempt to determine exactly how 12 wooden apple boxes worth of cash were able to be taken from the property without anyone seeing anything. They are looking at security (CCTV) footage, as well as the possibility of there being an accomplice.

However, the Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday that security camera footage from the casino had been secured by the Jeju police, who said that the video recordings from the time of the heist had been erased.

Further challenges:

One of South Korea‘s largest integrated resorts, Jeju Shinhwa World, like other Asia-Pacific gaming operators, is also dealing with tourist visitation being down, with the island’s total tourism in 2020 being down over 87 percent from 2019.

Making matter worse, the country recently announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entry and from January 8, 2021, international tourists will be required to “provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued within 72 hours of their departure,” according to entry and exit requirements from the U.S. Embassy & Consulate in the Republic of Korea.