Malaysians send illegal football bookmaker to jail

A Malaysian football bookmaker was sentenced to two years in prison and fined a million ringgit (US$286,000) for accepting bets on European matches. Ong Seh Sen was accused of running an illegal gambling operation on matches played in English, Spanish and Italian football leagues and became the first Malaysian bookie convicted under an anti-money laundering law, the New Straits Times said. The 37-year-old allegedly used a security equipment company as a front for internet and telephone betting schemes, the report said. He falsified 75 company invoices to show money accepted from the bets were part of official income, it said. Ong was granted a stay on his jail term pending an appeal but was ordered by the court in central Selangor state to pay the fine in 10 monthly installments, the daily said.

All forms of sports betting, except horse racing, are against the law in Malaysia but vast amounts are lost each year to illegal bookmakers offering internet betting. Malaysia permits other forms of gambling such as lotto games and casinos, but such activities are forbidden for ethnic Malay Muslims, who comprise some 60 percent of the country's 26 million people.