SINGAPORE, Nov 29 — Eleven suspects were charged on today for their involvement in operating a vast illegal gambling ring which is said to have collected S$2 million (RM6.26 million) in bets in the past month alone.
The nine men and two women aged between 40 and 68 face various charges under the Common Gaming Houses Act and Remote Gambling Act for collecting lottery stakes, receiving and placing bets on an illegal website, and depositing money paid by others in remote facility.
Their alleged offences took place on June 8, 2013 and between November 12 and 27 this year.
The 11 charged were among the 33 people police arrested yesterday in one of the largest-scale operations against a criminal syndicate.
They are Seet Siau Khuang, 67; Seet Seo Boon, 52; Lean Kay Cheong, 60; Tok Poh Ling, 47; Seet Seow Huat, 61; Ow Choon Bok, 40; See Mui Khim, 52; See Chye Huat, 49; Seet Sian Thian, 68; Lim Beng Tiong, 52 and Seah Ee Lam, 66.
They will be remanded for a week for further investigations as they are believed to be involved in similar cases. They will return to court on Dec 6.
Five of them — See Chye Huat, Seet Sian Thian, Seet Seo Boon, Seet Seow Huat and See Mui Khim — are represented by defence lawyer Wee Pan Lee.
The rest are unrepresented.
If convicted of each of their charges, they face a fine of between S$20,000 and S$200,000, and up to a five-year jail term.
On Monday, the police arrested 33 people suspected of operating several illegal gambling websites offering lottery and horse betting, a first under the Organised Crime Act — a statute that took effect in June this year giving the police wide-ranging pre-emptive powers.
They were nabbed in a series of raids at more than 30 locations on Sunday, including Bedok, Bishan, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Serangoon, Tampines and Yishun. Officers also found cash amounting to more than S$1.3 million, computers, mobile phones, fax machines and documents such as betting records.
The suspects’ bank accounts, which contained S$6.5 million collectively, were frozen, as were their properties, which have an estimated value of about S$39 million.
The syndicate allegedly has networks of agents and punters betting through their websites, which were registered and maintained by some of the suspects. Some collected wagers or tallied accounts for the syndicate.
The Organised Crime Act — enacted in August last year to deal with those higher up the chain in organised criminal groups — allows the authorities to seek court orders to put a freeze to these groups’ illicit activities or confiscate their loot before any criminal conviction.
An organised crime group refers to a party of three or more individuals that engages in criminal activities for financial or material gains.
Those convicted of serious crimes committed as part of an organised crime syndicate are subject to stiffer penalties.
For instance, money mules could be jailed up to seven years or fined S$500,000, or punished with both, under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.
Under the Organised Crime Act, those who committed the same offence as part of an organised crime group face up to 12 years in jail or a S$1,000,000 fine, or both. — TODAY