So Wing-Yui, 72, has pleaded guilty at a Hong Kong court to one count of booking and seven further counts of money laundering, totalling $12.9m.
He has been sentenced to three years and nine months’ imprisonment. Four others were also convicted, three of which were Wing-Yui’s family members.
Wing-Yui admitted he was behind the operation, which involved an illegal horseracing and football betting scheme, which he channelled through his family. The illegal bookmaking business ran from January 2007 to July 2011.
Wing-Yui’s brother, Wing-Wah, was also found guilty of two counts of money laundering. His nephew, So Kwok-Chung, brother-in-law Lo Chi-Keung and former subordinate Tsang Kwok-Wai, were all found guilty of one count of money laundering.
His brother and nephew were both sentenced to three years and one month in prison, while Chi-Keung was given three and a half years and Kwok-Wai will spend two years and seven months in jail.
Upon Wing-Yui’s arrest, authorities seized betting slips, passbooks and bank cards from the flat he was renting specifically to run the illegal bookmaking. Police also found passbooks and bank cards of his four associates in his motorcycle.
Deputy District Judge Newman Wong Hing-Wai said: "He committed the offences not because he became addicted to gambling.
"Instead, he purposely rented a flat to run his illegal bookmaking business."