Police actions cripple organised crime group providing illegal remote gambling services

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In one of the largest-scale operations against a criminal syndicate, the Police have arrested 24 men and 9 women, aged between 24 and 69, for their suspected involvement in an Organised Criminal Group (OCG) providing illegal remote gambling services.

On 27 November 2016, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Police Intelligence Department (PID) conducted simultaneous raids at more than thirty locations islandwide, including Bedok, Bishan, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Serangoon, Tampines and Yishun, resulting in the arrests. During the operation, cash amounting to about S$1.3 million, an array of computers, mobile phones, fax machines and other documents such as betting records were also seized as case exhibits. The Police also initiated the freezing of the suspects’ bank accounts, with cash amounting to about S$6.5 million, and 36 properties with an estimated value of about S$39 million.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the OCG is believed to have operated several illegal online betting websites facilitating lottery and horse betting. It was also established that the OCG included networks of agents and punters betting through the OCG’s websites and members facilitating the OCG’s activities by registering the betting websites, performing network support, collecting monies or tallying accounts for the OCG. The suspects are believed to have received bets amounting to more than an estimated S$2 million in the past month.

Investigations against all the suspects are ongoing for offences under the Organised Crime Act 2015 and the Remote Gambling Act 2014.

Under the Organised Crime Act 2015, any person who is or acts as a member of locally-linked organised criminal group shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both.

Under the Remote Gambling Act 2014, any person who provides a Singapore-based remote gambling service shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $20,000 and not more than $500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years or to both.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Investigations & Intelligence) concurrent Director of the Criminal Investigation Department Tan Chye Hee said, “The Organised Crime Act was enacted to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to prevent and disrupt the activities of Organised Criminal Groups (OCGs). OCGs are involved in serious criminal activities such as unlawful remote gambling and can pose a serious threat to Singapore’s safety and security. This is the first major operation by the Singapore Police Force against an OCG since the enactment of the Organised Crime Act. Police are resolute in our enforcement and investigation efforts against OCGs.  We will spare no efforts to disrupt and dismantle these organised criminal groups and deprive them of their ill-gotten gains.”