Public Prosecutor v Chee Kok Yeong

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeEric Tin Keng Seng
Judgment Date12 March 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] SGMC 8
Citation[2003] SGMC 8
Publication Date02 October 2003
Plaintiff CounselJames Ng (Police Prosecutor),Ong Peng Boon (M/s Ong & Co)

1 This is an appeal against sentence by Mr Chee Kok Yeong ("Mr Chee").

2 Mr Chee originally faced 7 charges for offences under s 5(3)(a) of the Betting Act (Cap. 21). After successful representations, the prosecution only proceeded with 3 charges as per the schedule tendered (marked "A"). The proceeded charges stated that Mr Chee at No 64, Hazel Park Terrace Blk 29 unit #05-10, Singapore, acted as a bookmaker by accepting bets to forecast the results of various soccer match fixtures.

3 Mr Chee pleaded guilty to the 3 charges (marked "P1" to "P3"). He understood the nature and consequences of his plea. I highlighted to him the prescribed mandatory punishments.

Summary of Facts

4 Mr Chee admitted to the Statement of Facts without any qualification (marked "B"). The facts revealed that on 16 May 2002 at about 1.30 am, Staff Sergeant Low Soon Hoe of the Gambling Suppression Branch, CID, together with a party of officers led by ASP Lilian Tan, raided Blk 1 Hougang Avenue 3, #03-304 for soccer bookmaking activities under the provisions of the Betting Act. Therein, Mr Chee was found. A search was conducted in his presence and the following items were found:

a. a handphone;

b. a computer CPU, monitor, keyboard, mouse and modem;

c. some diskettes;

d. some pieces of paper with entries;

e. some letters; and

f. a laptop computer.

5 On the same day at about 4 am, the officers visited Mr Chee’s rented apartment at No 64 Hazel Park Terrace, Blk 29 at unit #05-10. A search was conducted in his presence and the following items were seized:

a. some pieces of paper with entries;

b. some books and diary; and

c. some pens and calculator.

6 During the raid, several incoming calls were monitored by the officers on the handphone seized. Mr Chee was then placed under arrest and brought to CID for investigation.

7 Investigation revealed that Mr Chee had rented the apartment in question to conduct his soccer bookmaking activities with the use of the exhibits seized. The exhibits seized pertained to fixtures of the "English Premier League" match on 11 May 2002, "Italian Seria A" and "Spanish Primera Division" match on 5 May 2002, and "FA Cup" match on 4 May 2002. Mr Chee acted as a bookmaker on all the 3 occasions. A breakdown of the fixtures and corresponding value of bets is as follows:

Charge

Date

Fixtures

Value of bets

MAC 360/03

11 May 2002

Arsenal vs Everton

Black Burn vs Fulham

Leeds vs Middlesbrough

Liverpool vs Ipswich

Man. Utd vs Charlton

Southampton vs Newscastle

Chelsea vs Aston Villa

Sunderland vs Derby

$169,600

MAC 361/03

5 May 2002

Brescia vs Bologna

Chievo Verona vs Atalanta

Lazio vs Inter Milan

Piacenza vs Hellas Verona

Torino vs Roma

Udinese vs Juventus

Malaga vs Valencia

$138,500

MAC 362/03

4 May 2002

Arsenal vs Chelsea

$79,650

Charges taken into consideration

8 After Mr Chee was convicted on his plea of guilt, he admitted to 4 other similar offences and consented to have them taken into consideration for the purpose of sentence (marked "P4" to "P7").

Antecedents and Mitigation

9 Mr Chee was a first offender. His counsel Mr Ong Peng Boon tendered a brief written mitigation plea (marked "C") emphasising on Mr Chee’s personal and family circumstances and predicament. Counsel also highlighted that Mr Chee was candid and forthright during investigation, and was a loyal grassroots leader. Counsel also drew my attention to the fact that Mr Chee was seeking medical treatment at the Institute of Mental Health for insomnia and depression. He also suggested that Mr Chee was more of a runner collecting bets from his friends. Finally, counsel urged me to consider a minimum sentence for each charge and to order only two imprisonment terms to run consecutively.

Sentencing framework

10 In passing sentence, I had briefly referred to the sentencing framework for such offences and two relevant case precedents. These grounds of decision elaborate what I had said in court.

11 Section 20 of the Betting Act empowers a Magistrate’s Court to impose the full penalty or punishment in respect of any offence under the Act notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap. 68).

12 An offence under s 5(3) of the Betting Act attracts mandatory imprisonment up to 5 years, and mandatory fines of between $20,000 to $200,000. Parliament in amending the Betting Act in 1986 made it clear that this sentencing framework was designed to deter bookmakers and their agents: Singapore Parliamentary Report, Vol. 46, cols 723-8. The relevant sentencing considerations can be found in Sentencing Practice of the Subordinate Courts (2000 Ed.). At pp. 719-720, the learned authors indicated that due to the ease of commission, coupled with the difficulty of detection and proof, of such offences, the...

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