SINGAPORE - More than $1.2 million in cash has been seized and 28 people have been arrested in an islandwide remote gambling bust.
The 27 men and one woman, aged between 33 and 71, are suspected to be involved in providing illegal remote 4D or Toto and horse betting services, the police said in a statement on Wednesday (April 21).
Remote gambling refers to illegal bets on events such as horse races placed through unofficial betting channels, usually conducted through smartphones.
On Wednesday afternoon (April 21), six of the 28 suspects were charged in court with one count each under the Remote Gambling Act.
The six are Teo Jun Hui, 39; Poh Thiam Chin, 37; Chew Ka Loon, 48; Ang Kian Seng, 42; Cheong Kim Wah, 62, and Tan Sin Fu, 43.
Teo, Poh, and Tan are accused of assisting in remote gambling and using various unofficial gambling websites, while Chew and Cheong allegedly distributed money staked by others in remote gambling and Ang is said to have facilitated participation in remote gambling.
All six are scheduled to be in court next on April 28.
The police said that those arrested are believed to belong to a syndicate which purportedly used betting websites and phone messaging applications to facilitate their illegal remote betting activities.
"The amount of cash seized for this operation is one of the largest sums seized in a single police operation against illegal remote gambling," said the police, adding that the investigations into the other suspects are ongoing.
The police operation took place on Tuesday and lasted two hours.
It involved more than 180 officers from the Criminal Investigation Department, Police Intelligence Department and Special Operations Command, which conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations, including Tampines, Punggol, Hougang and Yishun.
Aside from the cash, items such as computers, mobile phones and betting records were also seized during the operation.
The suspects' bank accounts were frozen by the police for investigations and to prevent dissipation of the suspected criminal proceeds.
Those convicted of assisting in providing unlawful remote gambling services are liable for a fine of between $20,000 and $200,000, imprisonment of up to five years, or both.
Organising, facilitating or supervising remote gambling carries the same penalties.