Male S'porean first person to plead guilty to offences under new Organised Crime Act

Or Poh Soon, a newspaper vendor, had collected bets and sourced for punters for an illegal remote gambling syndicate which handled millions of dollars in bets.
Or Poh Soon, a newspaper vendor, had collected bets and sourced for punters for an illegal remote gambling syndicate which handled millions of dollars in bets.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A 55-year-old Singaporean has become the first person to plead guilty to offences under the new Organised Crime Act, which was passed in Parliament in 2015 and took effect in June 2016.

Under the Act, enforcement agencies have more powers to disrupt the activities of organised crime groups and stop them from getting a foothold in Singapore.

Or Poh Soon, a newspaper vendor, had collected bets and sourced for punters for an illegal remote gambling syndicate which handled millions of dollars in bets.

The syndicate ran more than five 4D and Toto websites, including www.asure6.net, www.888pool.net and www.peng8888.com. The court heard that from June 1 to Nov 27, 2016, the estimated turnover for www.asure6.net alone was about $26.64 million.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Teo Lu Jia said that the syndicate was led by three brothers: Steven Seet Seo Boon, 54, Eric Seet Seow Huat, 63, and Philip Seet Sian Thian, 71.

On Friday (June 8), Or pleaded guilty to one count each of illegally managing remote gambling activities, assisting in public lotteries and being a member of a locally linked organised criminal group.

The court heard that the syndicate had three main clusters and Or worked for the leader of one of them, Lean Kay Cheong, 62. Lean's cluster had about 95 agents, said DPP Teo.

 

She added that Lean had carried out public lotteries by accepting bets for 4D and Toto, based on the same draw dates and winning numbers as the Singapore Pools' games.

DPP Teo said Lean used to buy newspapers from Or, and, in 2012. Lean invited Or to work for him as a 4D and Toto collector for a commission of 8 per cent of the total bets collected. If the punters struck lottery, Or would also receive 5 per cent of the winning amount.

Or started working for Lean in January 2013. Over time, he had a pool of at least 20 regular punters who placed a few hundred dollars per draw date on illegal 4D and Toto bets with him.

In 2015, his lottery collection was about $2,000 per draw date as the number of punters grew.

DPP Teo said that Or later managed to get Lean to increase his commission to 10 per cent. In total, Or earned about $62,000 in commissions between 2013 and 2016.

The DPP told District Judge Edgar Foo that Or interacted with the punters via remote communication when taking bets, but collected the bets and distributed the winnings in person.

Monies, including Or's cut from winnings, went through Lean's runner, Seah Ee Lam, 67.

Or was one of the first six people to be charged in court in November last year with offences under the Organised Crime Act. They include one of the syndicate's alleged leaders, Steven Seet.

The other four people are said to be runners and agents. They are: Seah, See Chye Huat, 50, Toh Hee Choye, 62, and the only woman, Lim Poi Hwa, 62. Lean and the other two Seet brothers were charged in court on a later date. Or, who is unrepresented, is expected to be sentenced on June 27. The cases involving the other alleged members of the syndicate are still pending.

If convicted, anyone who is a member of a locally linked organised criminal group can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.