Top Taiwan Cop Detained Over Sabotaged Online Gambling Case

May 17, 2024
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Taiwan’s Taichung District Prosecutors Office has detained a senior law enforcement official after he allegedly tipped off an online gambling company under investigation.
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Taiwan’s Taichung District Prosecutors Office has detained a senior law enforcement official after he allegedly tipped off an online gambling company under investigation.

Prosecutors are investigating Lin Ming-tso, a newly promoted top superintendent with the national Criminal Investigation Bureau, over alleged interactions with the “2580” online gambling group while leading Taichung City’s criminal investigation corps, local media reported.

Initial reports said Lin’s alleged frequent meetings with a female “accountant” at the company led to company management learning of raids planned for several locations, allowing the company to relocate most of its operations and personnel and shield some NT$1bn ($31m) in revenue from the authorities.

With most of their case crippled, prosecutors recovered only NT$70m in cash at the time, suspecting foul play within official ranks had stymied their operation, the reports said. Taichung prosecutors have not confirmed or denied the details.

However, prosecutors later confirmed that they again raided 14 locations on May 7, seizing cash, luxury watches and other items, and detained 12 suspects for questioning.

Lin was detained on May 2 after a search of his office and home uncovered a bank account with NT$20m ($620,000) in unaccounted-for funds and more than NT$1m in cash.

Lin faces charges of collusion with illegal gambling interests, corruption and leaking confidential information.

The case has set off shockwaves in Taiwanese law enforcement circles because of Lin’s excellent reputation and high profile, including for a string of notable arrests of organised crime figures when he was based in the capital Taipei.

Some reports have also linked Lin’s alleged romantic relationship with game designer and former Taiwan E-Sports Alliance CEO Hsu Pei-ching to the scandal.

Hsu was named as a defendant in the same case over gambling and money laundering offences and bailed on May 1, the day before the raids on Lin’s premises.

The reports alleged Lin fell into a “honey trap” that led to the leaking of information to the gambling company.

In a statement issued by her lawyers on May 8, Hsu denied any association with “2580” or Lin’s unexplained assets, or any involvement in setting a honey trap.

Taichung’s online gaming companies have become a greater focus of law enforcement scrutiny in recent years given that the central Taiwanese city is now the nation’s hub for gaming technology and support services.

However, the ecosystem is souring as legal risk increases. Prosecutions of companies and individuals involved in B2C operations are ongoing, while several underground and grey-zone operations have been convicted.

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