Singapore – Ill-gotten wealth is always very risky business that could make a 180 degree turn for the worse at any moment. Couple Heng Ee Howe, 60, and his wife Tin Suh Chyong, 55, recently had karma biting them very hard on their bums. Having operated an illegal 4-D betting operation for 15 years, the couple has been ordered on January 17 to return everything they have collected. The total of their sudden debt to the Government equals to S$1,122,916.73, with S$1,093,246.92 being demanded from Mr. Heng, who was the frontman of the operations, and S$29,669,81 from his wife.
Not the first time
It turns out that the couple is not new to being charged with offences relating to illegal gambling operations. It was only on March 2, last year, that Mr. Heng was fined S$360,000 and stayed in jail for three months while his wife was fined S$100,000 and served two weeks in jail. They were charged for assisting in a public lottery and operating remote gambling by receiving bets via instant messaging platforms. This information was recently released by the police.
The investigations have discovered that the couple worked for someone called “Ah Gu” during the 15 years they were in business. The process was simple. Mr. Heng would receive bets, consolidate them and then fax them over to Malaysian runners, who were also working for “Ah Gu”. From the collection of bets and winnings of each punter, Mr. Heng received a commission. If he was unable to collect bets, Ms. Tin would take his place.
During the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and Criminal Investigation Department’s joint investigation, all of the couple’s bank accounts were frozen and a “charging order” was placed on their condominium unit to prevent them from moving around or selling their assets. This was also the period when the prosecution discovered the accumulated wealth of the couple from very suspicious sources. The amount of S$1.1 million being added to their accounts from June 1, 2010, to June 3, 2015, was not proportional to their disclosed sources of income.
From there, a confiscation order was put into place which resulted in the couple forfeiting their unexplained wealth.
According to the police and the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, “Any person who is convicted of a serious offence is subjected to have the benefits derived by him from criminal conduct confiscated.”
Furthermore, any party who has been convicted of assisting in operations of a public lottery can be fined between S$20,000 to S$200,000 and/or serve up to 5 years in jail. The same penalties apply to those who have been found guilty of providing illegal remote gambling services for another person.
Netizen Teh Ewe Leng is wondering if there is a law such as this being implemented in Malaysia so that it can be used on corrupt officials.
Meanwhile, Eric Lim is wondering what will happen to the S$1.1 million.