Bookie fined $390,000 & jailed

A man who moonlighted as an illegal football bookie was jailed for a year yesterday. Goh Weng Soon, a vegetable seller, was also fined $390,000.

As he was unable to pay the fine, the 38-year-old will serve the default sentence of 19 ½ months on top of his prison term.

This makes for a total of nearly three years' jail.

Straits Times.com reported that Goh pleaded guilty on March 21 to 11 counts of acting as an illegal bookmaker. Twenty-one other similar charges were taken into consideration by District Judge Wong Peck in sentencing.

Goh had been a bookie for more than two years. He was recruited by a Malaysian, identified only as Ah Kok. He accepted bets for football matches all over the globe and earned a 30 cent commission on each dollar collected in bets.

The district court heard last month that nearly $288,000 worth of bets were placed through Goh between February 1 and March 7 last year. He stood to earn more than $80,000 from these bets.

Acting on a tip-off, police arrested him near Queenstown on March 7 last year.

Goh was carrying $146,000 in cash when he was arrested, which he admitted was the collection for that week. Over $10,000 was found in his room after his arrest, but he claimed it was his own savings from helping his father at the Pasir Panjang Wholesale Market.

Goh explained to the police how the betting system worked.

Punters would first place bets via the Internet. He would visit them every Monday to collect losses and hand over their winnings.

A day or two later, Goh would then drive to Johor Baru to hand the collection - minus his commission - to Ah Kok.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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