An email was cc to PM Lee Hsien Loong.
RE : NAT (No Action Taken) by Gambling Suppression Branch
27th September 2004, I called GSB to make a report about some students of MacPherson Secondary school who were collecting and making illegal football bets on the European Premier League. The duty officer that day was Joseph. I gave him my contact number and e-mail. NAT.
29th September 2004, I faxed a complaint to the Head of GSB. NAT.
From 4th October to 14th October 2004, I tried to contact Joseph regarding the complaint. I called 1800 435 0000, the Operator put me through. I called almost daily, in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening, for almost 10 days. Nobody picked up the phone. I faxed Joseph on 14th October 2004. NAT.
I then spoke to a couple of police officers who advised me to make a police report at a police station. I made a police report at Marine Parade NPC on 18th October 2004 with my husband. After taking down statements from my hubby and I, the police office asked if anyone besides us knew about the case. I turned round, there were 5 people sitting right behind us waiting for their turns to make police reports.
"er.... yah. Now got 5 more people know."
My report number was G/20041018/0194D. I was given the name of AIO Vince Yeo and telephone number 6244 0000 to contact. NAT.
A few days later, Koh Kian Tat from GSB finally called me to take my statement. I went down to the Police Headquarters in Cantonment. He asked me to wait in the corridor while he went to get the key for an empty investigation room.
I hear loud and clear, he said to his colleagues in the room, "The char bo (derogatory remark for a woman) is here." I knew then I wouldn't be taken seriously. I was viewed as a nuisance. I handed him a tape that had more than a month of the recordings of the boys' betting conversations. NAT.
On 12th November 2004, I faxed Koh to inform him, my foreign students involved in this case were returning to their country on 23rd November 2004. NAT.
19th November 2004, I left a message for Koh to call me back. He called to say he had handed the case to his supervisor Lim Meng Ann. The file was sitting on Mr Lim's table then. The foreign students could go back to their country first.
I asked Koh if he wanted the students' addresses and contact numbers in their countries, he said no need. He must be very happy that they were leaving. It seemed very obvious that GSB never intend to investigate this case.
Is there anyone who cared? Illegal betting syndicates are infiltrating into our government schools. The students involved are as young as 15 years old. Some are runners who are raking in 'big money' for their age. There isn't any need for them to study anymore.
As the parent of a young boy who is studying in a neighbourhood secondary school, it is worrying for me. The students involved were gambling with real money. Each bet was from S$50 to S$300. A student can buy up to 10 bets a single weekend. This is no joke.
I was worried for the other younger children in my house. What if those boys lost heavily and got into debts or turned to loansharks? Wouldn't my family and wards be in trouble?
Some of the students were taking their 'O' levels exams that year. It seemed unimportant to them then. They don't need that certificate to be a successful bookie. I fear more students would take this route if action is not taken first. Why wasn't an investigation carried out to flush out the bookie?
The foreign students were sent back to their country. I knew then nothing was going to be done. I sent a letter to GSB, cc to PM Lee Hsien Loong.On 30th November, Head of GSB, Chia Tang Heng called and apologized. He also said that by sending my letter to PM's office, it made them looked bad. Well, they deserve it for slacking in their jobs. He tried to cover his backside by telling me how tough their jobs were. I told him my husband was an ex-police officer. And we had discussed my case with several police officers who said that GSB’s handling of my case was not according to police procedure.
Chia Tang Heng rose through rank and file. He didn't know what his men were doing during office hours? And he didn't know what was going on? I guess they only want to go after 'big fish' so that they would be mentioned on local news. Small cases don't get them noticed and promoted. Haven't they heard of, 'A stitch in time saves nine?'
Finally, Chia Tang Heng said the youths were just trying to make some pocket money, so GSB just gave them a warning. Pocket money amounting to thousands of dollars a week? For secondary school children, that sort of amount for pocket money sounds incredible. But Chia Tang Heng was determined this is his conclusion.
Case closed for GSB. Not for eastcoastlife. ^-^
After these incidents, I will never be such a busybody and waste my time making police reports.
(The rest of the police stories are found in my book.)