Illegal gambling syndicate's agents collected up to $20m

Extent of syndicate's operations revealed as 'master agent' admits in court to his offences

Agents of one of the largest organised crime syndicates uncovered in Singapore, allegedly led by a trio of brothers, collected between $9.7 million and $20.2 million, including from punters, between 2007 and 2016. This was revealed yesterday in court when a "master agent" from the syndicate admitted in court to his offences.

In the dock was part-time hawker stall helper Lim Teng Kok, who pleaded guilty to three offences under the Organised Crime Act, which took effect in June 2016.

The 68-year-old also pleaded guilty to two other charges - assisting in carrying on illegal public lotteries and managing remote gambling activities by others.

He was linked to the illegal gambling syndicate whose members were among the first people to be charged on Nov 29, 2016, under the new Act.

Reports in The Straits Times stated that more than 30 suspects involved in illegal remote gambling services were arrested earlier that month, following one of the largest police operations against a crimi-nal syndicate.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Lu Jia said Lim started buying illegal 4-D from a man known only as Ah Tee from 2001 to 2002.

Lim then worked as an illegal 4-D collector for him in 2005. Two years later, Lim was told he could earn more money if he worked directly under Ah Tee's boss, a man known as Ah Peng, later established to be Lean Kay Cheong, now 62.

 
 

According to court documents, Lean later recruited Lim, and as part of the arrangement, Lim would have to source for his own punters to place illegal 4-D and Toto bets. These punters placed bets directly with Lim.

DPP Teo told District Judge Ng Peng Hong: "The accused would get a commission of 10 per cent of the total bets collected from his own punters. If the accused's punters struck the lottery, he would receive an additional 5 per cent of the winning amount."

She added that Lim later had 80 punters placing illegal bets with him. Over time, he became a "master agent" and recruited a pool of about 15 agents under him. These agents would then collect illegal bets from punters.

The court heard that Lim earned over $200,000 in commissions between 2007 and 2015 in total. This did not include the additional 5 per cent commission he earned if his punters struck the lottery.

Lim was offered bail of $15,000, and is expected to be sentenced on Jan 15.

Several other offenders linked to the syndicate were dealt with in court earlier. One of them, newspaper vendor Or Poh Soon, 55, who collected bets and sourced for punters, was the first person to plead guilty to offences under the Organised Crime Act. He was sentenced to two years in jail and a fine of $50,000 in June this year.

The syndicate was allegedly led by three brothers: Steven Seet Seo Boon, 54; Eric Seet Seow Huat, 63; and Philip Seet Sian Thian, 70. The cases involving the trio, Lean and several other members are still pending.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2018, with the headline 'Illegal gambling syndicate's agents collected up to $20m'. Print Edition | Subscribe