20 June 2018
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Criminal law, procedure & sentencing feed-image   

First guilty plea under Organised Crime Act

Straits Times
09 Jun 2018
Shaffiq Idris Alkhatib

Man who worked for illegal gambling syndicate to be sentenced on June 27

A 55-year-old Singaporean has become the first person to plead guilty to offences under the new Organised Crime Act, which was passed in Parliament in 2015 and took effect in June 2016.

Under the Act, enforcement agencies have more powers to disrupt the activities of organised crime groups and stop them from getting a foothold in Singapore.

Or Poh Soon, a newspaper vendor, had collected bets and sourced for punters for an illegal remote gambling syndicate which ran more than five 4-D and Toto websites, including www.asure6.net, www.888pool.net and www.peng8888.com.

The court heard that from June 1 to Nov 27, 2016, the estimated turnover for www.asure6.net alone was about $26.64 million.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Lu Jia said the syndicate was led by three brothers: Steven Seet Seo Boon, 54, Eric Seet Seow Huat, 63, and Philip Seet Sian Thian, 71.

Or pleaded guilty yesterday to one count each of illegally managing remote gambling activities, assisting in public lotteries and being a member of a locally linked organised criminal group.

The court heard that the syndicate had three main clusters and Or worked for the leader of one of them, Lean Kay Cheong, 62. Lean's cluster had about 95 agents, said DPP Teo. She added that Lean had carried out public lotteries by accepting bets for 4-D and Toto, based on the same draw dates and winning numbers as the Singapore Pools' games.

DPP Teo said Lean invited Or to work for him in 2012 as a 4-D and Toto collector for a commission of 8 per cent of the total bets collected. If the punters struck lottery, Or would also receive 5 per cent of the winning amount.

Or started working for Lean in January 2013. In 2015, his lottery collection was about $2,000 per draw date as the number of punters he had grew. Lean later increased Or's commission to 10 per cent, which allowed the latter to earn about $62,000 in commissions between 2013 and 2016.

The DPP told District Judge Edgar Foo that monies, including Or's cut from winnings, went through Lean's runner, Seah Ee Lam, 67.

Or was one of the first six people to be charged in court in November last year with offences under the Organised Crime Act. The others are Steven Seet, Seah, See Chye Huat, 50, Toh Hee Choye, 62, and the only woman, Lim Poi Hwa, 62. Lean and the other two Seet brothers were charged in court at a later date.

Or, who is unrepresented, is expected to be sentenced on June 27.

The cases involving the other alleged members of the syndicate are still pending. If convicted, anyone who is a member of a locally linked organised criminal group can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.