Malaysian Man’s Gambling Debt Gets Him in Prison in Singapore

A Malaysian man who lives and resides in Singapore – a country that is known for its tough stance on illegal gambling – has got himself in a lot of trouble over a gambling debt he thought he could cover by committing a crime, The Straits Times reported. Lim Cheng Siang, a construction foreman, ended up in a lot more trouble than he originally was in by making a series of poor decisions which led to his ultimate downfall over a very short time.

Gambling Debt Leads Man to Commit Robbery

While living and working in Singapore Lim thought that he could unwind by turning to gamble. His appetite for games of chances, though, quickly took the better of him, and before long, Lim was gambling more than he could afford to pay for. Loan sharks and a few too friendly mates of his, though, offered him more money to continue playing which led to the man stacking up a serious SGD$50,000 in debt or roughly, $37,000.

Unable to repay that amount and the due date rapidly closing in, Lim soon realized that he would need to make difficult decisions. Yet, he also realized that loan sharks would probably chase him back to Malaysia if he decided to escape. His monthly installments to cover the debt were SGD$5,000 or $3,700 but he only earned SGD2,900 or $2,150 a month.

Too afraid to reason with the loan sharks, Lim chose to commit another reckless act and stuck up a local pawn shop, making away with some SGD$35,000 ($25,800) away. This should have at least helped him get the loan sharks off his back for a few months, but he chose to try and earn the entire amount in the least wise way – by gambling it.

A Poor Way to Double Your Money

Heading to the Marina Bay Sands, Lim was hopeful that all his troubles are nearly gone now, but he ended up spending the amount and not winning much if anything back. Now having lost the stolen money, Lim had only one option – to hide, but hiding at his rental apartment did not help, as police caught up to him only after two days of looking and charged him with robbery by using fingerprints analysis to identify him as the perpetrator.

Lim’s case has been expedited and he was handed down a two and a half year sentence by a judge on Tuesday. He also received six strokes of the cane, a sentence that is rarely carried out in Singapore but that is usually one of the punishments for the offense. Lim is somewhat lucky, however, because the maximum sentence for his offense carries a ten-year penalty.

It’s not clear what the loan sharks think about Lim defaulting on his debt. However, he may have just been able to solve at least one of his problems. Singapore recently introduced a revised regulatory framework for its gambling industry.

In the meantime, Singaporean police have been hunting down illegal gambling operations and keeping the country clean from underhand gambling practices.  

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