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Singapore police seize £1.4bn of assets in illegal gambling probe

| By Robert Fletcher
Police in Singapore have seized assets worth over S$2.40bn (£1.43bn/€1.65bn/US$1.76bn) as part of investigations against illegal online gambling activities in the island country.

The Singapore Police Force says the case relates to a group of foreign nationals who are suspected of laundering the proceeds of overseas organised criminal activities. Among the activities, it adds, are scams and online gambling. 

So far, police have seized or issued disposal orders for a range of assets. These include bank accounts with a total estimated value of more than $1.13bn and over $76.0m in cash.

Police have also seized 68 gold bars, 294 luxury bags, 164 luxury watches, 546 pieces of jewellery and 204 electronic devices. In addition, over $38.0m in cryptocurrency has been seized.

Singapore Police also say prohibition of disposal orders have been issued against over 110 properties and 62 vehicles valued at more than $1.24bn. Similar orders have been issued for liquor, wine and ornaments.

The police were updating on an island-wide investigation that was first announced in August.

The case saw 400 officers from multiple agencies conduct simultaneous raids across the city-state, and led the arrest of ten foreign nationals. Following the initial wave of raids, the police seized assets worth over S$815m.

The police confirmed investigations are ongoing.

Arrests over illegal gambling in Singapore

The news comes after police made several arrests in July over illegal gambling in Singapore.

Some 13 men and 12 women, aged between 31 and 76, were detained. The enforcement operation was led by Singapore’s Woodlands Police Division on 20 July.

Police raided a building in Sembawang and recovered a range of gambling paraphernalia. Cash amounting to S$19,752 was also seized, along with 11 mobile phones.

Singapore’s strict approach to gambling

Last year, the Gambling Control Act 2022 ushered in new laws for operators and participants in illegal gambling in Singapore.

Anyone guilty of operating illegal gambling faces a maximum fine of S$200,000 and up to five years in prison. A person who gambles with an unlicensed operator can be fined as much as S$10,000, a maximum of six months in prison, or both.

The Act was approved last year alongside the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Act 2022. The led to Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority being renamed the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore in August.

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