Singapore authorities have issued their first gambling-related criminal charges under the city-state’s new organized crime laws.
One year ago, the Singapore Police Force announced the arrest of dozens of individuals connected with an illegal online gambling operation. It was the first such action local authorities had taken since the city-state authorized legal online gambling activity by the Singapore Pools and Turf Club monopolies.
Multiple members of the illegal online gambling operation had already been charged with illegal gambling offenses under the Remote Gambling Act, which the city-state approved in 2015 and which paved the way for the legal online betting options.
But Wednesday saw Singapore’s Criminal Investigation Department announce that it had filed additional charges against six of the arrested individuals – one woman and five men, including the alleged ringleader Seet Seo Boon – under the new Organized Crime Act (OCA), which took effect in June 2016.
The OCA makes it an offense to belong to any organized criminal syndicate, to recruit others into such a gang, or to issue instructions to gang members to commit illegal activities on behalf of the gang. Anyone convicted under the OCA faces a jail stint of up to five years and fines of up to S$100k.
The six members charged under the OCA are accused of running illegal online 4-D and Toto gambling sites, including asure6.net and 888pool.net, that earned them profits of S$25m (US $18.4m) before last November’s arrests spoiled the party.
Ringleader Seet (pictured) is facing a total of 61 charges, including 19 related to converting the benefits of criminal conduct. Seet is said to have personally reaped some S$17m from the gang’s activities, and spent around S$1.2m of this illegal bounty making down-payments on 11 different residential properties in Singapore.
The other five charged under the OCA are considered to be runners or agents of the illegal gambling operation. All six alleged gang members have a followup court hearing on Nov. 23.