89 men being probed for illegal horse betting following police raids
An islandwide operation clamping down on illegal horse betting activities led to the police identifying 89 men suspected of being bookmakers, runners and punters.
In a statement on Tuesday (Feb 22), the police said they raided multiple locations across Singapore from Feb 14 to 20, including Bedok, Beo Crescent, Marsiling, Jurong West, Telok Blangah Crescent and Toa Payoh.
The suspects, aged 34 to 87, are being investigated for their involvement in illegal gambling activities.
Ten of them are also being investigated under the Remote Gambling Act 2014 for offences relating to providing unlawful remote gambling services.
During the operation, the police seized more than $30,000 in cash, an array of mobile phones, and documents such as betting records.
Anyone who places a bet with a bookmaker, or is found to be involved in unlawful remote gambling, can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $5,000.
Anyone involved in bookmaking, or is found to be providing unlawful remote gambling services, can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $200,000.
If passed, newly proposed laws under the Gambling Control Bill will see stiffer penalties for illegal gambling.
The first reading of the Bill in Parliament was on Feb 14.
It proposes that punters who gamble with an unlicensed gambling service be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000. This is double the maximum fine for a similar offence currently.
It also proposes that agents who facilitate unlawful gambling be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $200,000. This is the same penalty for a similar offence currently, but it also proposes different penalties for repeat offenders - a maximum jail term of up to seven years and a fine of up to $300,000.
For operators, which will be clearly differentiated from agents, the proposed Bill will see them face the harshest penalties of up to seven years' jail and a fine of up to $500,000.
Repeat offenders will face jail of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $700,000.
The police advised members of the public to stay away from illegal gambling.
"Police take a serious view against all forms of illegal gambling activities and will continue to take tough enforcement action, including prosecuting those involved to the fullest extent of the law," said the statement.