There’s a thin line between bending the laws and breaking it. Unfortunately for Chua Chin Hoe, he disregarded the former by blatantly crossing the latter – 63 times.
The 56-year old illegal gambling operator was sentenced to four and a half years in prison and fined S$20,000 ($15,500) for pleading guilty to six charges of corruption – he faced a total of 63 charges! – in addition to another one under Malaysia’s Common Gaming Houses Act.
According to the law:
Any person who —
- (a) being the owner or occupier or having the use temporarily or otherwise thereof keeps or uses a place as a common gaming house; or
- (b) permits a place of which he is owner or occupier or of which he has the use temporarily or otherwise to be kept or used by another person as a common gaming house;
shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to *a fine of not less than five thousand ringgit and not more than fifty thousand ringgit and shall also be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years and in addition shall be liable to a fine of not less than five thousand ringgit and not more than fifty thousand ringgit for every gaming machine seized.
Hoe, as it turns out, started his illegal gambling operation 20 years ago when he operated unlicensed jackpot outlets in Malaysia. From there, Hoe set his sights on Internet cafes offering the same illegal gambling activities, in part after Malaysian authorities started cracking down on the illegal jackpot activities.
More than just his shady business operations, Hoe also added bribery to his list of infractions after it was found out that he also had a history of stuffing the police’s pockets while also paying others to take the fall for him in his time of illicit activities. The latter, in particular, served an important purpose to keep Hoe’s hands clean and smelling like roses. Every time a raid of one of his cafes was made, these paid scapegoats would assume all criminal liability for the man. Apparently, a lot of people in Hoe’s circle really did come with a price.
As for the list of police officers implicated with accepting bribes included Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mark Koh Kian Tiong, Staff Sergeant Steven Tan Chee Kwong, Staff Sergeant David Lim Kay Heng, Staff Sergeant Chong Soon Ping and Sergeant Teng Jing King.