Celebs get suspended jail terms for gambling

December 27, 2013

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By Nam Hyun-woo

A Seoul court handed out a suspended prison sentence to comedian Lee Soo-geun and other entertainers indicted for illegal online sports gambling.

Seoul District Central Court handed down a six-month prison term, suspended for one year to Lee, singer Tak Jae-hoon and Tony An, a former member of now-defunct legendary K-pop group, H.O.T.

The court found them guilty after the prosecution indicted them on Nov. 14 for gambling hundreds of millions of won on illegal betting sites on English Premier League football games from 2008 to 2012.

According to prosecutors, Tony An bet the most, 400 million won, followed by Lee with 370 million won and Tak with 294 million won.

“Sports Toto” is the only legal sport betting site in Korea, operated under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Its upper betting limit is 100,000 won per game, while illegal sites have no such limits.

“Considering their social status as well-known TV personalities as well as the amount of money, their crime affects society significantly,” Judge Shin Myung-hee said in her ruling. “However, the court took into consideration that they have shown remorse and admitted their crimes.”

Following the ruling, Tony An said, “I deeply regret it. I will not appeal.” Lee and Tak also said they will not appeal.

Meanwhile, Andy, a member of another boy band Shinhwa and Show host Lee Min-ho, better known by his stage name Boom, were fined 5 million won, respectively, for participating in illegal gambling.

They received more lenient punishments since the amount they spent on gambling was relatively smaller than that of the aforementioned three, according to the court.

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