11 July 2024

A major online gambling operator was sentenced to 54 years in prison, reduced to 20 years today (Wednesday), after he was found guilty of 25 offences related illegal gambling by the Criminal Court.

18 others who were also involved in the illegal gambling were given prison terms from three months to 14 years, with most one year and four months. Two escaped during the trial.

During the trial, the court heard that Sia Po Po-anon, the alleged ring leader, operated illegal online gambling via several platforms.

The court also heard that the gang divided its people into three groups with various responsibilities. The first group, allegedly led by Sia Po, managed the gambling operations, the second was in charge of all the bank accounts and the third were the owners of the bank accounts.

According the prosecutor’s charge sheet, more than 575,000 financial transactions were recorded between 2018 and 2000, worth an estimated 1.7 billion baht, including about 841 million baht described as laundered money.

During the trial, Sia Po claimed that he was not the key operator, nor was he the owner of the Facebook account. The court, however, did believe his claim and sentenced him to a total of 54 years on 25 counts.

Since accumulated prison terms in Thailand are set at a maximum of 20 years, the actual term imposed on Sia Po is 20 years. His wife, Chuthamat, was given six months and his brother three months.