Family run gambling syndicate brought to abrupt halt with hefty fine
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  • April 10, 2021
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A multi-national gambling syndicate run by a father and son has been brought down to heel as the duo have been slapped with an almighty $800,000 fine. Making bets on legal Singapore Pools lotteries, the pair have collectively been jailed for eight and a half years.

Gambling is never the same across two separate countries, with some even ruling that gambling with money from within the same territory is illegal.

Despite the laws and regulations in place, many players decide to take their own route in order to make a buck or two. However, these journeys can be short-lived once the authorities catch up with you.

A crime in the making

Father Ow Gowan Hock has been no stranger to handcuffs related to gambling incidents, as he has been issued multiple fines during the past. 

Starting from 1970 through to 1992, he was made to pay anywhere in the region between $30 and $1,000 a time in fines due to gambling in a public gaming house.

Pleading guilty to two acts against the Remote Gambling Act and Organised Crime Act, Gowan Hock was shown up to have largely aided the execution of the illegal betting website, including depositories into his own bank accounts. 

Pushing for higher punishment

After being shown up for making some transactions through a now shut down illegal betting site called ss772.net, Gowan Hock and his son Ow Choon Bok got off considerably lightly compared to what the prosecution of the case was pushing for.

Coming out of the trial with a total of eight and a half years in jail and the $800,000 fine to pay, those working for the prosecution fought their corner saying much higher stakes should be dealt out. Aiming for $600,000 out of Gowan Hock and $800,000 from Choon Bock, the proposed $1.4 million fine was drastically reduced by the authorities, saying that there was not enough evidence to say that those kinds of profits were made. The $800,000 however could be proved and hence was charged.

If the prosecution had anything to do with it, the jail terms would have been for longer too.

Three Years To Make Payments

Now presented with more than three years in order to make the payments from the result of the court case, the sentences passed (which were backdated from April 2020) were authorised on thorough research of the illegal activities.

During their time of operation over seven years, bets were taken throughout the week, every week, on the lotteries, including both TOTO and 4D versions. 

Hunting down the proceeds didn’t always prove easy for the authorities, as some were invested in property. One location organised by Choon Bock was a Punggol flat in Edgedale Plains worth $57,000.

Despite not having a record previously like his father, Choon Bock was indeed in charge of the administrative side of the business, managing team members and ensuring the smooth running of illegal Singapore-based betting websites.  

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