Police nab 15 suspects from illegal football betting syndicate

SINGAPORE - Police arrested 12 men and three women suspected of being involved with illegal bookmaking activities on Thursday.

At about 4am, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Police Intelligence Department conducted islandwide operations at various locations, including Tampines, Lorong Salleh, Bukit Batok, Hougang, Aljunied, Punggol, Pine Close, Bartley, Bedok and Anchorvale.

They arrested 15 suspects aged between 26 and 61, and seized about $860,000 in cash, betting records and computers, mobile phones, laptops and documents.

The suspects are believed to have received football bets amounting to an estimated S$880,000 in the past three weeks alone, said the Police in a statement on Friday. Investigations are ongoing.

Anyone who bets with a bookmaker can be fined up to $5,000, jailed up to six months, or both. 

Any person found to be involved in bookmaking will be fined at least $20,000, up to a maximum of $200,000, and face five years in prison.

Police Superintendent Lawrence Eng, who heads the CID's specialised crime branch, said the operation was the fourth that police have conducted to "clamp down hard and fast on illegal soccer betting."

From these operations, Police have arrested a total of 56 suspects and seized about $2.8 million in cash, he added.

"Bookmakers who assume that they can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to commit criminal offences would face the full extent of the law upon their arrest," he added.

"We would also like to advise members of the public to steer clear of illegal betting websites."