SINGAPORE: A remote gambling "agent" who collected up to S$640,000 worth of illegal bets over four years became the first to be convicted for offences under the Organised Crime Act on Friday (Jun 8).
Or Poh Soon, 55, a Singaporean, on Friday pleaded guilty to offences under the law, which came into effect in June 2016. He was one of six people from an organised crime group charged in November last year under the law, which is targeted at crime syndicates.
The court heard that sometime in 2012, Or, a newspaper vendor then, was recruited by Lean Kay Chong, one of three leaders in the group. Lean, whose case is pending, used to get his newspapers from Or outside Beauty World Centre.
Lean told Or, who was earning S$50 a day, that he could earn extra income by working as an illegal gambling agent under him, collecting 4D and Toto bets.
Or would need to source for his own punters. He would get a commission of 8 per cent of total bets collected, and an additional 5 per cent of the winning amount, if his punters struck the lottery.
Or started work in January 2013 and, over time, had at least 20 regular punters placing illegal 4D and Toto bets with him. They would call or text him on his mobile phone to place their bets. Or would consolidate these bets and text Lean.
Court documents showed that, up until his arrest in November 2016, Or earned up to S$62,000 in commission on the bets alone.
OR KNEW ABOUT WIDER GROUP
The syndicate consisted of three leaders, a chief runner, three administrative staff, two IT technicians and four shareholders. The group divided its operations into three main clusters that actively collected bets.
It had a total of about six 4D and Toto websites, court documents showed. Between Jun 1 and Nov 27, 2016, the group had an estimated turnover of S$26.6 million, the court heard.
Lean was one of four shareholders and led a cluster made up of an IT technician, a runner, a "master agent" and agents who collected bets entered into www.peng888.com. He would also receive a cut of the profit from two other websites.
Or knew that he was involved in an organised crime group with wider links to other people unknown to him, Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Lu Jia said.
Lean's cluster alone had 95 agents, of whom only six, including Or, have been arrested, the court heard.
Or admitted to three charges, with another charge taken into consideration. DPP Teo said that she will be seeking a two-year jail sentence and a $40,000 fine.
For his offences under the Organised Crime Act, he could be fined up to S$100,000, jailed up to five years, or both. Under the Remote Gambling Act and Common Gaming Houses Act, he could be fined between S$20,000 and $200,000, jailed up to five years, or both. The cases against others involved in the syndicate are pending.