SINGAPORE, Dec 8 — After starting an illegal online gambling syndicate in 2011 with his two older brothers, Seet Seo Boon helped to expand it in five years to a multimillion-dollar enterprise that collected a weekly revenue of at least S$1 million (RM3.1 million).
Using two main websites, the syndicate collected 4D and Toto bets and earned more than S$100 million in revenue before they were nabbed.
Today, the 56-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty in a district court to seven charges mostly under the Organised Crime Act, Common Gaming Houses Act and Remote Gambling Act.
The charges included being a leader of an organised criminal group, providing remote gambling services and assisting in carrying on a public lottery.
Another 54 similar charges will be taken into consideration during his sentencing on Jan 19 next year.
The prosecution, which described Seet as a leader behind “one of the most profitable and elusive illegal remote gambling syndicates”, is seeking an imprisonment term of between ten-and-a-half years and 12 years and five months, along with a S$720,000 fine.
A total of 49 people were arrested during a series of raids conducted by the police against the syndicate in November 2016.
So far, several of them have been dealt with including a key figure — Lim Beng Tiong, who was jailed five years and five months as well as fined S$300,000 earlier this year.
Seet led the syndicate with his brothers Seet Seow Huat, 64, and Seet Sian Thiam, 72, which had numerous sub-groups and clusters of agents and runners working for them.
The court heard that prior to setting up the gambling ring, the Seet brothers had been collecting illegal 4D bets on behalf of unknown persons.
They then decided to set up their own remote gambling website in mid-2011. Afterwards, they personally and actively recruited other agents and shareholders who would collect 4D bets from punters on their behalf.
The brothers encouraged the syndicate members to recruit others in order to increase revenue, as well as cushion losses by spreading the losses among the members.
They avoided detection by the authorities by personally interviewing prospective members and only accepting those who agreed to their terms.
Seet earned profits of at least S$14,000 per month from the bets collected via their first website from 2011 to when he was arrested in November 2016.
In 2013, Seet learned about a more efficient online betting system in Hong Kong. They then launched their second Singapore-based remote gambling website, which Seet was the administrator and owner of.
He profited at least S$5,000 every month through this site from 2013 to his arrest.
On November 27, 2016, police officers acting on information received went to Seet’s residence and forced their way in after he refused to allow them in. They seized multiple electronic devices used in the syndicate as well as four Rolex watches.
The police also found that he managed 11 bank accounts at various banks for the illegal gambling activities.
In arguing for District Judge Christopher Goh to mete out a deterrent sentence to Seet, Deputy Public Prosecutors Dwayne Lum, Chong Yong and Lee Wei Liang told the court: “It is only right and just that the accused, having evaded the law for years and derived a sizeable amount of profits from his covert illegal operations, now faces the full force of the law.
“A stiff deterrent sentence is necessary in the public interest, to send a stern warning to other like-minded offenders, and to strongly impress upon them that crime does not pay.”
Seet is represented by Josephus Tan and = Cory Wong from Invictus Law Corporation, who are seeking seven-and-a-half to eight years’ jail as well as a S$235,000 fine. — TODAY