Suspended Gambling Sentences for Famous People in South Korea

Posted: January 2, 2014

Updated: October 4, 2017

Three South Korean celebrities who spent hundreds of thousands of USD on sports gambling, got their sentences suspended by the court.

The trial of the three celebrities – comedian Lee Soo-geun, singer Tak Jae-hoon and Tony An, former member of the popular boy band HOT, who were charged with illegal bet on sports in South Korea, was concluded last Friday. The Seoul Central District Court Judge Shin Myung-hee suspended their sentences for one year, after the initial sentence of six months in jail.

They pleaded guilty and apologized sincerely multiple times for their improper behavior of betting hundreds of millions of Korean won (hundreds of thousands of US dollars) on football teams in the English Premier League through online sportsbooks in South Korea.

Genuine remorse helps the defendants

Judge Shin Myung-hee commented on the ruling: “The defendants should be highly blamed for their crimes, considering their social status as well as the amount and the period of the gambling. The court, however, took into consideration that the defendants showed sincere remorse for their crimes and that they promised not to repeat the crimes.”

They were initially charged because the only legal form of sports betting in South Korea is through Toto lottery tickets operated by a state-licensed brokerage operator. The three celebrities were part of the last cases to be closed after 21 bettors were charged with illegal mobile betting through foreign websites.

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