Illegal online gambling sites are planned to be brought to prosecution by South Korean authorities where the operators will receive life sentences and all their customers will face charges.
Illegal online gambling operators, who were indicted on charges for establishing an unlawful gambling place beforehand, will now have to bear organized crime charges that constitute much higher penalties. While the previous punitive measures entailed as much as a sentence of seven years in prison and a KRW 70 million (61 thousand US dollars), the current one may impose a lifelong imprisonment for the offender. This strict new regulation was announced by South Korea’s National Police Agency this Friday.
As the police have identified a large number of these sites to be operated by organized criminal gangs, they deem the step as fitting. Affiliates of these sites such as software programmers, site managers as well as web hosting services consciously involved in business with them will all be brought to charges as well.
In order to reduce traffic to gambling sites, ‘habitual’ gamblers or those with higher than average stakes used to be penalized in South Korea before. However, “all gamblers without exceptions, regardless of how often they gamble or how much money they bet” will be brought into question now, as per a prosecution official’s statement to the Korea Times. Besides, those caught gambling thrice or more, especially teenagers, will also be brought to court under criminal charges. The police are pondering on a special investigation team and collaborative effort with law enforcers of other countries with a view to battling cyber gambling.
Considering this new imposition in South Korean law and order, the handful of lucky people ought to be the recently arrested online gambling operators. The gang is reported to handle KRW 16 billion (equivalent to 140 million US dollars) in the last four years, being one of the most influential among the country’s illegal operators. They would have faced a much heavier punishment had they been arrested a few days later.
In recent times, South Korea has seen cases of online gambling involving celebrities such as professional sports stars – basketball players, judokas and wrestlers were prosecuted for match fixing, and illegal and overseas gambling.