Woman acted as agent of husband's criminal group that earned over $26.6 million in 6 months

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
Nov 9, 2023

A woman was sentenced to 10 months’ jail on Thursday over offences including acting as an agent of her husband’s organised criminal group.

The group earned more than $26.6 million in about six months through unlawful gambling activities.

Wong Choi San, 67, collected illegal 4-D bets from punters, including her brothers and friends.

On Oct 2, she pleaded guilty to two charges under the Remote Gambling Act, and one charge under the Organised Crime Act.

At the time of the offences, Wong was married to Seet Sian Thian, then 74.

Seet was sentenced to 4½ years’ jail and given a fine of $141,000 in August 2022 after pleading guilty to four charges, including two under the Organised Crime Act.

He was one of three brothers who were leaders of the organised criminal group.

In March 2022, Wong’s brother-in-law Seet Seo Boon, then 57, was sentenced to nine years, eight months and two weeks’ jail, and fined $620,000.

The case involving another brother-in-law, Seet Seow Huat, 68, who is believed to be the third leader, is still pending.

A third brother-in-law, Seet Siau Khuang, 74, who was not one of the leaders, was sentenced in April 2022 to four weeks’ jail and given a fine of $30,000 over unrelated unlawful gambling activities.

He still has pending charges, including one under the Organised Crime Act.

In earlier proceedings, the prosecution said that the Seet brothers had been collecting illegal 4-D bets on behalf of unknown people before 2011.

The prosecution added that a group of men, including Seet Seow Huat and Seet Seo Boon, decided to set up their own gambling website in 2011 to facilitate the collection of illegal 4-D bets from agents and punters.

The brothers then expanded their illegal remote gambling operations by personally and actively recruiting other agents as well as shareholders, who would collect illegal 4-D bets from punters on their behalf.

The brothers also actively encouraged members of the organised criminal group to recruit other individuals.

Seet Sian Thian was later invited to the group and another remote gambling website was launched in 2013. He asked Wong to recruit her friends to place illegal bets. She then became a member of the organised criminal group.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yong had earlier said the group generated an average revenue of about $370,000 per 4-D draw date through one of the sites, earning about $1.11 million in revenue on average per week.

The DPP added that from June 1 to Nov 27, 2016, the group’s revenue was about $26.64 million.

Wong helped with the organised criminal group’s operations during that period. According to court documents, she performed tasks such as regularly transporting one of its agents, Tok Poh Ling, 50, from Singapore to its operations centre in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and back.

The outcome of Tok’s case was not stated in court documents.

Wong, who was arrested in November 2016, was represented by lawyers Choo Si Sen and Choo Yean Lin from Tan Lee & Partners.

They pleaded for their client to be given four months’ jail, saying: “She was a simpleton and was gullible with little education. She is a full-time homemaker (and) a typical subservient traditional married woman. She never made any attempt to recruit any other people to join the group...

“Her knowledge of the (organised criminal group’s) operation was also limited to what was scantly shared to her by her husband.”

It was not mentioned in court on Thursday what happened to the more than $26.6 million in earnings that the group collected.

Wong’s bail has been set at $10,000, and she was ordered to surrender herself at the State Courts on Nov 30 to begin serving her sentence.

The Straits Times

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.