Fri, Jan 15, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Election gambling rings busted

HIGH STAKES:One syndicate raked in a total NT$600 million in wagers, prosecutors said, while a gambler placed a NT$300,000 bet on the election’s outcome

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Police cracked down on two underground gambling rings in separate raids in New Taipei City and Taichung, where proprietors allegedly took in large wagers on the outcome of the presidential election, arresting the suspects.

Wang Cheng-lung (王承龍), an alleged proprietor of an illegal gambling syndicate, was apprehended along with two employees in a raid on Wednesday, the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday.

Wang, 39, has been operating a gambling Web site called King Sports Net, which launched in May last year, and had reportedly raked in more than NT$100 million (US$2.96 million) from wagers on sports matches, office spokesperson Feng Cheng (馮成) said.

“Investigators found that Wang had created betting pools on the presidential election’s outcome, including bids on the final vote tally and the total difference between the presidential candidates. We discovered in his computer that one person had put down a NT$300,000 bid,” Feng said.

Raids were carried out in several locations in New Taipei City’s Sanchong District (三重), he said, adding that a number of computers, servers and account books were seized, while Wang’s bank accounts were frozen by investigators after the raid.

Wang admitted taking wagers on the election’s outcome, Feng said, adding that prosecutors said he would be charged on gambling offenses and violating provisions of election law.

Feng’s office said that it was the third online gambling operation brought down in the past few days, as two other enterprises allegedly taking wagers on the presidential election were rounded up earlier this week. The suspects communicated via Web sites and mobile phone applications, it said.

Meanwhile, public prosecutors in Taichung said they have shut down another online gambling operation, apprehending the proprietor, surnamed Chou (周).

Chou, 47, was taking wagers on the presidential election’s outcome, prosecutors said yesterday.

The organization accepted bids on the outcome of the race between Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) by giving them the code names “A-Tao,” as Chu was the former commissioner of Taoyuan County, and “A-Wen” respectively.

It was alleged that Chou, who previously owned a golf equipment retail business, had run the online site to take bets on sports matches, racing events and other games.

Prosecutors said they found evidence and records in Chou’s computers and servers showing that had made a profit of about NT$30 million from October last year to last month, while the total money he had accepted in wagers in the past year reached NT$600 million.

In another election-related investigation, a KMT official in Chiayi County has admitted to three instances of vote-buying, after being summoned for questioning and detained incommunicado since Monday last week by prosecutors.

Shueishang Township (水上) Council Chairman Wu Pei-yu (吳培裕) admitted that he distributed money in exchange of votes, officials at the Chiayi District Prosecutors’ Office said, adding that he was among nine suspects held over an investigation into election-related violations.

Wu admitted to distributing NT$120,000 to a local vote-broker, surnamed Lin (林), NT$500,000 to a former village warden, surnamed Wu (吳), and NT$50,000 to a village warden, surnamed Hsieh (謝), during the election campaign, officials said.

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