SINGAPORE – A sergeant with the Gurkha Contingent of the Singapore Police Force (SPF) misappropriated $5.4 million from people in his community and used some of the money to place bets on remote gambling sites.
The bets, which included winnings he might have rolled over, totalled nearly $40.8 million – the largest amount to date involving a punter linked to unlawful gambling activities.
Bikash Gurung, now 36, had told his 196 victims that he could remit monies to Nepal at favourable exchange rates.
But he only sent around $211,000 back to their home country.
In their submissions, deputy public prosecutors Jeremy Bin and Cheng You Duen described the case as one of the most heinous scams perpetrated in recent history.
Bikash, who has been suspended from service since Sept 24, 2018, took between $2,000 and $240,000 from each victim.
“These monies were absolutely necessary to provide basic necessities such as healthcare, education, food and shelter for the victims’ families in Nepal.
“Their lives, and the lives of their families for generations to come, have been irrevocably damaged by virtue of the accused’s offences,” said the prosecution.
On Wednesday (July 20), Bikash was sentenced to 10 years’ jail after he pleaded guilty to 25 counts of criminal breach of trust and nine charges involving unlawful gambling activities.
Another 188 charges were considered during sentencing.
Bikash was known among his friends in the Gurkha Contingent as someone who could reliably remit monies to Nepal at favourable rates.
But in 2016, he incurred significant losses from gambling heavily on football matches.
To fund his gambling habit, he leveraged on his reputation in remitting money.
He said he would accept Singapore dollars from his customers and use the cash to buy goods which would then be transported to Nepal.