SINGAPORE — Together with his two brothers, the mastermind of a highly profitable remote gambling syndicate ran the operation for some five years, generating more than a million dollars in revenue each week.
Between 2011 and 2016, Seet Seo Boon, 56, managed the remote gambling business though two main websites, www.888pool.net and www.asure6.net.
Together with siblings Seet Seow Huat and Seet Sian Thian, Seo Boon recruited and instructed at least 49 shareholders, agents and administrative staff. These recruits in turn roped in other agents and collected illegal bets from punters in a sophisticated and large scale operation.
“In this manner, the accused meticulously organised and expanded the syndicate’s operations, successfully turning it into a profitable, money-making enterprise with its estimated ill-gotten revenue exceeding one million Singapore dollars per week,” said the prosecution during Seo Boon's plead guilty mention on Wednesday (8 December).
Seo Boon is the first of the brothers to plead guilty to his charges, which include those under the Organised Crime Act, Common Gaming Houses Act, Remote Gambling Act and the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.
Seow Huat and Sian Thian’s cases are pending before the court, while another brother Seow Meng, is on the run, according to the defence.
For his charges under the Organised Crime Act, Seet admitted to being the leader and shareholder of a organised crime group which provided Singapore-based gambling services; recruiting a woman as an agent to collect illegal 4D bets; instructing a person to act as an agent in managing remote gambling; and dealing with a sum of $1,578,017.45 that was illegally obtained by the group and funnelled through nine bank accounts.
A total of 54 charges of a similar nature will be considered for his sentencing.
Arrested in 2016
On the evening of 27 November 2016, acting on information received, police arrived at Seo Boon's Tampines residence. Officers forced their way in and arrest him after he refused to allow them entry.
Equipment such as laptops and mobile phones were seized before Seo Boon led police to his office in North Bridge Road, where more equipment was seized.
Seo Boon, his brothers and the 49 staff members were arrested after a "prolonged period of intensified probe", said the prosecution.
They noted that Seo Boon had been drawing most of his income from the collection of illegal 4D bets and from his provision of services through the remote gambling websites since 2009.
He also used criminal proceeds to to pay for monthly instalments of a mortgage loan for a three-room condominium unit at Urbana, located at River Valley Close. He used $156,380 of his illegal proceeds to pay the instalments from January 2013 to February 2015.
Founded website in 2011
In 2011, Seo Boon and all of his three brothers decided to set up their own remote gambling website (www.888pool.net) to facilitate the collection of illegal 4D bets from agents and punters, and to channel all the bets into the website to earn more profit.
Seow Meng later withdrew from the business and is supposedly on the run.
Seo Boon recruited a Malaysian man to assist in the creation of the online betting platform hosted on the 888pool website. The website was launched in mid-2011, and was programmed to automatically calculate and generate the value of winnings and losses of each shareholder, based on the bets entered by each shareholder on the website.
The brothers then expanded their illegal remote gambling operations by recruiting other agents and shareholders who would collect illegal 4D bets from punters on their behalf. They also promoted several agents to shareholders, motivating the shareholders to recruit more agents who collected more bets. These agents, who were directly managed by the shareholders, were also known as master agents.
The bets collected by agents would be handed over to the shareholders for them to enter the bets into the 888pool website, as only shareholders would have access to the website.
From 2011 to 27 November 2016, Seo Boon is said to have profited at least $14,000 per month from the bets collected via the 888pool website.
In 2013, he learned of a more efficient online betting system in Hong Kong. Seo Boon and his two brothers then decided to set up www.asure6.net to facilitate the collection of bets from agents and punters. From 2013 to 27 November 2016, said the prosecution, Seo Boon profited at least $5,000 per month from the bets collected through this website.
Seo Boon's lawyers, Cory Wong and Josephus Tan from Invictus Law, noted that their client cooperated extensively with the authorities and had come clean with his offences. A large part of the statement of facts was based on Seet’s statements to the authorities, which helped investigations against the co-accused persons, added Wong.
Seo Boon's sentencing has been adjourned to 19 January.
The prosecution is seeking between ten-and-a-half years and 12 years five months' jail and a fine of $720,000. Wong and Tan argued for their client to be jailed between seven-and-a-half to eight years' jail and a fine of $235,000.
According to an eyewitness, shortly after his hearing, Seo Boon suddenly exited the High Court while yelling "Robbery!" in Mandarin. He had also changed into a different shirt than he was seen in in court. He was then shielded from photographers by two unidentified women.
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