Man jailed for bribing others to take the rap for running illegal gambling houses

Former businessman Tan Aik Kim, who gave $64,500 in bribes to others to take the rap for running illegal gaming houses, was jailed for 27 weeks on Thursday. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW 
Former businessman Tan Aik Kim, who gave $64,500 in bribes to others to take the rap for running illegal gaming houses, was jailed for 27 weeks on Thursday. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW 

SINGAPORE - A former businessman who gave $64,500 in bribes to others to take the rap for running illegal gaming houses was jailed for 27 weeks on Thursday.

Tan Aik Kim, 53, admitted to 13 of 102 charges of corruption, by giving between $500 and $2,000 to four men each time they took the blame for running gambling dens in 2006 and 2007.

He was a director of Prime Technologies Investment when he started operating five illegal gaming outlets in Geylang, the East Coast area and Beach Road in 2001.

Tan met one Koh Cheok Heng alias Francis at a Geylang coffeeshop. When he found out Koh was having money problems, he offered to pay the man $500 a month, if he was willing to lie that he ran the illegal outlets if they were raided.

After Koh agreed, Tan told him to register as the owner of the company Starmax Entertainment.

Tan installed jackpot machines at the five outlets, which came under Starmax.

In early 2007, Tan approached Chow Kwee Oo with a similar plan, this time for a gaming outlet at Lorong 11 Geylang. Chow, who needed money to pay off gambling debts, said yes, and was given $1,000 a month.

In early 2006, Tan met another gambler who was jobless and needed cash for outstanding debts. Chin Teck Leck agreed to run Tan's billiard saloon at Katong Village in East Coast Road. Tan oversaw and paid for its renovations.

After its opening, Tan told Chin that he wanted to use a room there to operate jackpot machines illegally.

Chin, who was then being investigated by the police, roped in one Cheong Kum Thong to operate the Katong outlet, and was paid $1,000 a month by Tan.

Cheong was sentenced to 11 months' jail in August 2007 for running the illegal outlet.

At Tan's request, Chin found a replacement - Chow Chun Cheong - to take over the business. Tan paid him $2,000 a month.

Tan closed the Katong outlet in February 2007 due to the police probe and instead opened an outlet at Golden Mile Tower in Beach Road. Chow signed the tenancy agreement for the lease of the premises and was paid by Tan.

Tan, who was charged in 2012, was dealt with only on Thursday as he had been warded at the Institute of Mental Health for manic depression since June this year. This month, he was found fit to plead and has been remanded at Changi Prison since. His sentence was backdated to Dec 1.

elena@sph.com.sg