Singapore: Elderly man jailed for involvement in illegal horse race betting

Horse race betting in Singapore
Horse race betting in Singapore Pixabay

A 66-year-old man was sentenced to two weeks of imprisonment, including minimum $20,000 as a fine on Monday. According to reports the man acted as a bookmaker at a coffee shop.

The accused named Heng Chaw Chew pleaded guilty during the court hearing in January for his illegal actions on November 19, 2017.

The accused was found guilty for acting as a bookmaker and accepting bets totalling $240 for races, which took place in Singapore and Hong Kong at Hoover Coffeeshop, situated at Block 65 Circuit Road last year.

When police officer received the information about the illegal horse betting activities, they raided the coffee shop and found the culprit Heng, with a guidebook called Punters' Way Sha Tin Races and Punters' Way Singapore Races.

When they arrested the accused, police also rescued $240 in cash, what Heng collected from this illegal betting activity. They also seized a record of 32 'win' and 28 'place' tickets during the raid.

Before his arrest, during the sentencing court heard that the accused had been loitering near the coffee shop to accept bets from interested gamblers.

As Heng is not capable enough to pay the fine of $20,000, he will compensate via serving one month in jail.

According to Betting Act, the maximum punishment for the convict is a $200,000 fine and five years' jail.

However, there are gambling can generally be classified into 3 categories to understand when it can transfer into illegal activity. These classifications are:

  • Gaming, which generally refers to games of chance and skill. An example would be "Dai Di", the card game also known as Big Two.
  • Lotteries such as 4D or the Singapore Sweep
  • Betting, which can include wagering on football matches or horse races.

Gaming is common in Singapore as a recreational activity. It would appear that gaming during funerals, a common sight in Singapore, which is considered gaming in private.

However, the operation of gambling dens is illegal. It is also illegal to the game in public. These acts are prohibited by the Common Gaming Houses Act. But the legalised casinos in Singapore are exempt from these laws.