158 investigated for illegal horse betting and breaching safe distancing measures

The police are investigating 147 men and 11 women, aged between 36 and 83, for their suspected involvement in illegal horse betting activities and for alleged non-compliance of safe distancing measures.

Officers from Criminal Investigation Department and the seven Police land divisions had conducted operations against illegal horse betting activities at multiple locations between April 24 and June 6.

These locations include Telok Blangah Crescent, Bukit Merah View, Serangoon Central, Bedok, Bukit Batok, Woodlands, Marsiling and Yishun.

Housing & Development Board (HDB) officers also supported the island-wide operation, through enforcement against breaches of safe distancing measures.

During the operations, cash of more than $76,000, several mobile phones and documents believed to be betting records were seized.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the 158 suspects purportedly consist of illegal bookmakers accepting illegal horse racing bets, runners assisting the bookmakers and gamblers who placed illegal horse racing bets with the illegal bookmakers.

Investigations are ongoing.

Under the Betting Act, any person who bets with a bookmaker shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 and/or a jail term of up to six months.

Any person who is found to be involved in bookmaking shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $20,000 and not more than $200,000, and shall also be punished with a jail term of up to five years.

For non-compliance with safe distancing measures under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020, individuals may be fined between $300 and $1,000, depending on the seriousness of the breaches found.

For more serious breaches, offenders may also be liable for prosecution and be punished with a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail term of up to six months.

In a statement on Tuesday (June 8), the police said they take a serious view against all forms of illegal betting activities.

They added: "The police will continue to take tough enforcement action and prosecute those involved in accordance with the law.

"Members of the public are advised to steer clear of all forms of illegal gambling activities and to take the prevailing safe distancing measures seriously."

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