All bets off as coppers score poorly

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 March, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 March, 2001, 12:00am

Something's afoot. You can bet on it.

Well. You can't quite yet. But by next year you should be able to.

Lai See was surprised that footie wagers infiltrated the budget speech.

Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen clearly takes the whole thing very seriously indeed.

And who can blame him? This is a big economic issue.

After all, police seized HK$106 million worth of soccer bookmaking bets in January.

Or did they?

The police said they did. Then the newspapers reported it.

Then the police unsaid it.

'We regret that a miscalculation was made in respect of the amounts of soccer bookmaking bets seized in January this year,' Chief Superintendent of Organised Crime and Triad Bureau Tsang Wai-hung said.

'The figure released at Tuesday's [Home Affairs Department] meeting was incorrect.'

It seems a decimal somehow wandered off and got lost.

The police didn't score HK$106 million. They netted HK$106,000.

Oops. Looks like an own goal for the coppers.

High life: We can't believe what's happening in Singapore.

The government appears to be throwing some sort of giant rave party.

Word of this little foray into the world of dry ice and techno music just went up on the administration's official Web site.

Reader Robert Clark came across it and showed it to Lai See.

'Five Weeks, ONE CELEBRATION!' screams the headline.

The event: 'A celebration of all things 'e'.'

The aim: 'To help Singaporeans discover their potential by living an e-lifestyle.'

Apparently drug laws have loosened up a bit over there.

Honesty counts: Ah, those Nigerian con artists. Theirs is a world of scheming ministers, exiled princes and hidden gold.

Sort of the Bold and the Beautiful meets African petty crime.

The tales of intrigue predictably conclude with a request for bank account details, so that the ex-prince/slain leader's son/oil tycoon can park his mountain of money there and reward you with a cut.

Usually the stars of these sagas assign themselves sympathetic characters, made colourful by an endearing streak of corruption.

But yesterday reader Veronica Chung received one that tried a slightly different tack.

It harked from someone claiming to be the lawyer of the former chief security officer to military dictator General Sani Abacha.

'The late general died unexpectedly on June 8, 1998,' Ms Chung was informed.

'His colleagues in the army poisoned him in the presidential villa because he ruled Nigeria with an iron hand and he did not want democracy in the country.'

And so it came to pass that Nigeria cast off the shackles of oppression, hosted free elections, and brought the slain dictator's evil henchmen to justice.

Which brings us back to Ms Chung's would-be business partner.

'My client was singled out by the government as an army officer that must be punished because of his gross human rights abuses on the citizens of Nigeria,' he said.

'My client and I were best of friends.'

How nice.

Lai See can't offer the henchman or his lawyer much help on the bank account front.

But we can think of a couple of credit card collection agencies that might want to hire them.

Graphic: whee09gbz