Over 4 years' jail for one of 3 brothers leading organised criminal group

SINGAPORE - He was one of the three leaders of an organised criminal group involved in unlawful gambling activities that generated a revenue of about $26.64 million from June 1 to Nov 27, 2016.

Seet Sian Thian, 74, was on Thursday (Aug 18) sentenced to 4½ years' jail and given a fine of $141,000 after he pleaded guilty to four charges, including two under the Organised Crime Act.

He will have to spend an additional 71 days behind bars if the fine is not paid.

The court heard that the trio are brothers.

In March, another leader, Seet Seo Boon, then 57, was sentenced to nine years, eight months and two weeks' jail as well as given a fine of $620,000.

The case involving the pair's sibling, Seet Seow Huat, 67, who is believed to be the third leader, is still pending.

The trio's brother, Seet Siau Khuang, 73, who was not one of the leaders, was sentenced in April to four weeks' jail and given a fine of $30,000 over unrelated unlawful gambling activities.

He still has pending charges, including one under the Organised Crime Act.

For the current case, Deputy Public Prosecutors Chong Yong and Lee Wei Liang stated in court documents that the Seet brothers had been collecting illegal 4D bets on behalf of unknown persons prior to 2011.

The DPPs added that in 2011, a group of men, including Seet Seow Huat and Seet Seo Boon, decided to set up their own remote gambling website to facilitate the collection of illegal 4D bets from agents and punters.

Seet Seo Boon then recruited a Malaysian man, known only as "Guo Zhi", to help him in creating the online betting platform. The website was launched in mid-2011.

The brothers then expanded their illegal remote gambling operations by personally and actively recruiting other agents as well as shareholders, who would collect illegal 4D bets from punters on their behalf.

The brothers also actively encouraged members of the organised criminal group to refer and recruit other individuals into it.

The purpose of the recruitment exercise was to increase the revenue of the group and cushion the losses by spreading them among its members.

Seet Sian Thian was later invited to the group and another remote gambling website was launched in 2013.

He also asked his wife, Wong Choi San, 66, to recruit her friends to place illegal bets. Her case is still pending.

Seet Sian Thian earned a commission from the total value of bets placed through the two websites.

He also earned an additional 5 per cent from the total winnings arising from his agents and punters' bets.

The DPPs told the court that Seet Sian Thian earned an estimated profit of at least $3,000 per month from the bets collected through one of the websites alone.

But his illegal activities came to an end when police officers acted on information and turned up at his home in November 2016 to arrest him.

Another 48 individuals were also caught at around the same time over their involvement in the organised criminal group.

The Organised Crime Act - aimed at fighting crime syndicates - was passed in Parliament in 2015 and took effect in June 2016.

On Nov 16, 2017, six people, including Seet Seo Boon, became the first to be charged under the Act.

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.

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