South Korean casino operator Landing International Development is wearing egg on its face after a staffer apparently absconded with millions of dollars over the holidays.
In an ‘inside information announcement’ to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Landing somewhat sheepishly revealed that it discovered Monday that some KRW14.56b (US$13.4m) in company funds maintained in the South Korean holiday island of Jeju was ‘missing.’
Landing went on to explain that the company is “unable to reach the employee-in-charge of the funds.” Landing said it has alerted South Korean police regarding the incident and an investigation is underway. Landing’s board of directors is also “gathering information in relation to the incident.”
Landing operates the Jeju Shinhwa World resort casino on the island, one of South Korea’s larger foreigner-only gambling venues. Like most of its local rivals, Jeju Shinhwa saw its fortunes slide as the pandemic caused the flow of foreign gamblers to slow to a trickle.
Jeju Shinhwa has closed many of its non-gambling amenities, while limiting access to others. The situation forced Landing to suspend development of the resort’s expansion projects, ironically enough, to “preserve healthy liquidity” of the kind that has now gone AWOL.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time a Landing staffer has gone missing under mysterious circumstances. In August 2018, Landing chairman Yang Zhihui went off the radar after allegedly being detained at Cambodia’s international airport. He finally resurfaced that November with the offhand explanation that he’d been assisting China’s government in a corruption probe but that was over now so let’s never talk about it again. Ever.
It seems unlikely that the more junior employee who appears to have absconded with Landing’s working capital is assisting China’s anti-corruption drive. Then again, perhaps he’s Bruce Wayne in disguise and someone flashed the bat signal while he was counting Landing’s money and he just didn’t think to put it back in the safe before dashing off to thwart evil.