Wanted online gambling boss turns himself in, released on bail


TAIPEI (CNA) — A wanted operator of a multinational online gambling syndicate that allegedly allowed illegal transfers between Taiwan and China turned himself in on Tuesday and was later released on NT$20 million (US$681,251) bail.

Lai Chao-hsin (賴朝興) was one of four people indicted by Chiayi prosecutors in April for violating the Money Laundering Control Act and illegal gambling offenses under the Criminal Code through their involvement in the gambling operation.

After the other suspects had been questioned and released on bail in the months since, Lai turned himself in on Tuesday accompanied by his lawyer and was let go after collecting NT$20 million in 20 minutes to post bail.

During an investigation of a Chiayi-based underground bank, prosecutors found in August 2019 that Lai and many others were involved in facilitating illegal online gambling, said Tsai Ying-chun (蔡英俊), chief prosecutor of the Chiayi District Prosecutors’ Office.

According to Tsai, Lai, Chiang Cheng-min (蔣振銘) and Hsiao Shih-yao (蕭世耀) ran the illegal online gambling operation under the name of a subsidiary of a business group whose CEO was Chang Heng-yao (張恆耀), Tsai said.

Lai and his cohorts also allegedly allowed local gamblers to remit a total of NT$3.73 billion (US$127.04 million) between Taiwan and China through an underground bank over the past two years, Tsai said.

Following the indictment in April, Hsiao, a business and real-estate tycoon in Chiayi, was questioned later that same month and released on NT$50 million bail.

Chiang and Chang were also released more recently on bail of NT$2 million and NT$5 million, respectively.