Thu, Nov 02, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Military to probe online gambling pool allegations

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Satellite news gathering trucks line up yesterday outside the gate of the Pingtung Air Base, where some Air Force officers are alleged to have been involved in China-linked illegal gambling.

Photo: Lee Li-fa, Taipei Times

Military officials yesterday launched an investigation into allegations that officers at an air force base in southern Taiwan engaged in illegal gambling with links to Chinese Web sites.

The online gambling pool was allegedly started earlier this year by a non-commissioned officer surnamed Chen (陳) in the 439th Combined Wing at Pingtung Air Base.

Chen is suspected of using mobile networking app Line to connect with about a dozen military personnel from the air force, army and navy, who were invited to place bets on motor sports competitions in China, news reports said, adding that she provided analysis of upcoming competitions, offering tips on individual racers, with prognosis and forecasting of likely results.

Gamblers reportedly lost large amounts of money because of their unfamiliarity with motor racing in China, which contributed to Chen’s profits, reports said.

The greatest losses were reported by a female non-commissioned officer surnamed Ho (何), who borrowed money to cover her losses and accrued a debt of about NT$1 million (US$33,140).

The resulting stress affected her job performance, which led to the uncovering of the gambling pool.

According to sources at an air force unit, Chen was an intermediary accessing Chinese gambling Web sites focused on motor racing, who created accounts for the military personnel.

Chen was the only person with access to the Web sites and she also had access to the gamblers’ accounts, allowing her to monitor their betting, an officer said.

“After learning of the case, we have initiated an internal probe. Personnel involved in the case will receive two reprimands and two demerit points, and we will launch legal proceedings to address disciplinary matters,” the Air Force Command Headquarters said in a statement.

However, the office did not specifying whether only the gambling pool organizer or all the participants would be punished.

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