Singaporean duo jailed for illegal gambling operation 

By William Brown Updated
Singaporean duo jailed for illegal gambling operation 

A Singaporean father-son duo have been jailed for operating an illegal gambling business in the city-state.

Calvin Ayre reports Ow Choon Bok, 44 and Ow Gowan Hock, 73 were the masterminds behind a transnational gambling outfit that booked wagers on Singapore Pools lotteries and were arrested last April.

The pair admitted to the scheme and while it is not known each how much their enterprise made, it was determined they made around $670,500 in a six-month period in 2016.

Extrapolating for the entirety of the scheme, it’s possible they could have made about $10 million between 2009 to 2016.

The duo offered their services to anyone willing to take part and launched a website to help drum up business.

They were accepting bets on public lotteries in Singapore.

The son was responsible for managing staff, wagers and payouts, at one point even allowing a criminal syndicate to use the platform to run their own illegal gambling operations.

He was sentenced to five years in prison for his illegal activities.

The father is said to have assisted his son in running the illegal site and used his personal bank accounts as repositories for some of the cash received for the bets.

He will serve three and a half years in prison.

While this was Choon Bok’s first offence, his father reportedly has a rap sheet for illegal gambling that dates back to the 1970s and has had to pay multiple fines over the years for his activity.

Choon Bok was ordered to pay a fine of $376,800, while his father will need to pay $226,080.

If they are unable to come up with the money, they will need to make it up by the way of jail time, with the son spending another 10 months in prison and the father another six months.

The fines are much lower than the $1.05 million the prosecution was seeking.

Sydney man kidnapped child in attempt to recover gambling debt sentenced to jail

A Gold Coast child was kidnapped to recover a Sydney man’s $5.5 million gambling debt, the Southport District Court has heard.

The ABC reported in October that Zhen Jie Zhang, 55, has been sentenced to seven years’ jail after admitting he acted irrationally and said he wanted to formally apologise to his young victim, whose head he tied to a chair in 2018.

“I want to say I’m deeply sorry,” Zhang said through an interpreter.

“If you feel afraid please forgive me for that” your father was acting terribly and owed me a substantial amount of money.

“I felt I had no other option.”

The boy, who was 12 years old at the time, was snatched from outside his house in May 2018 as he walked home from Somerset College at Mudgeeraba.

He was bundled into a car and driven across the Queensland and New South Wales border, with an amber alert issued and the boy found 240 kilometres away in Grafton.

At the time, detectives said the boy was treated for scratches “consistent with being bound”.

Prosecutor Matt Hynes told the court the boy had a mask placed over his head and had been given water only twice during his 16 hours of captivity.

The boy also made three attempts to escape.

“On the first attempt, his ankles were tied; the second, a towel was placed in his mouth; the third, his head was tied to a chair with the rope around his neck,” Mr Hynes said.

The court heard Zhang and the boy’s father met in 2010 and gambled together.

The boy’s father had borrowed money from Zhang and also owed a substantial amount to casinos.

Mr Hynes said Zhang had set about extorting the boy’s family over a period of three and a half months, including sending threatening texts with the words: “Watch out…wait for pick up the body.”

In a victim impact statement, the young boy’s mother said her son went from being a happy-go-lucky boy to a child who was “sad, frightened and miserable.”

“She observes that when dark cars go near the house, he hides under tables,” Mr Hynes said.

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