Father and Son Jailed For Illegal Gambling Ring
A judge jailed a father and son in Singapore for their part in running an illegal gambling ring. The time they serve could increase if they fail to pay fines imposed on them.
Police arrested 44-year-old Ow Choon Bok and his 73-year-old father Ow Gowan Hock in April. The pair admitted to being part of the illegal gambling ring. They were more than that, however, they were the masterminds behind the massive venture.
Bok and Hock took wagers on the Singapore Pools lotteries since 2009. Their operation spread across Singapore and further afield, earning them vast sums of money. Nobody knows just how much money the duo gained from their illegal gambling ring, but prosecutors wanted fines of $1.05 million imposed.
The court heard the illegal gambling ring made at least $670,500 in a six-month period. It is possible the pair illegally made $13.12 million between 2009 and 2016, which is incredible.
How Did The Illegal Gambling Ring Work?
The criminal pair launched a now-defunct website, ss772.net, affording them a wider reach. They accepted bets on public lotteries in Singapore, something that is against the law there.
Bok, the son, was responsible for wagers, payouts and staff. He allowed a criminal syndicate to use the platform for their own illegal gambling ring, the court heard. The judge sentenced Bok to five-years imprisonment.
The father assisted his son, although police believe this is the wrong way around. Hock has a long history of illegal gambling ring operations dating back 40-years. He has a list of previous fines as long as his arm. Hock claimed he allowed the business to use his personal bank accounts in exchange for financial reward.
Hock received a 3.5-year jail sentence.
Judge Imposes Fines in Addition to Jail Time
Both Bok and Hock face the prospect of additional jail time if they don’t pay substantial fines. Prosecutors wanted total fines of US1.05 million but the actual fines were less.
Bok owes $494,439 and Hock $296,663. Bok faces another 10-months and Hock six-months in jail if they fail to pay.
The judge didn’t impose the requested fine because he said there was not enough evidence the illegal gambling ring produced massive sums of money. This is strange to say the least when records show it made $670,500 in six-months.
Singapore Cracks Down on Gambling
Gambling is legal in Singapore but only in licensed venues. The country is home to Marina Bay Sands and Las Vegas Sands casinos after all. Online gambling is legal in Singapore but only through Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club. Online casinos, however, are not permitted.
Singapore police arrested as many as 35 people in mid-October and charged them with gambling offences. Those 35 arrested people played a part in a pair of illegal gambling ring activities.
Police released a brief statement following the arrest of 11 of those men.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that a 32-year-old man purportedly operated the illegal gambling den, with two men, aged 21 and 38 respectively, assisting the management of the illegal operations.”
A second raid resulted in 23 arrests. All individuals were aged between 46 and 76 years of age. Police failed to release many details but revealed only $8,004 in cash was recovered at the scene. Hardly mega bucks compared to Hock and Bok’s operation.
Gambling laws are strict in Singapore and illegal gambling is met with severe fines. Fines as high as $48,404 are imposed, which is almost the average annual salary in the country.
Participating in illegal gambling activity comes with a six-month jail term plus a fine. Those running gambling dens face more severe jail sentences, as shown by this father and son case.