Jockey's betting slip decoded, court told

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 February, 2007, 12:00am

A police gambling specialist decoded a betting slip seized from Australian jockey Christopher Munce when he was arrested with HK$250,000 cash in his pocket, a court heard yesterday.

Gambling expert Au Tai-wai, a sergeant in the Criminal Intelligence Bureau, testified in the District Court as the last witness in the hearing over an alleged 'tips-for-bets' scam.

After hearing the case for more than two days, Judge Kevin Browne ruled that there was a case to answer. Munce elected not to give evidence or produce a defence witness.

On July 3, Munce, a 37-year-old champion jockey, and businessman Andy Lau Wai-ching were arrested after meeting at the Royal Garden Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Munce was found to be carrying HK$250,000 in cash - which he said was a farewell gift from Mr Lau - together with a piece of paper bearing some numbers and English letters.

Sergeant Au said the note was a betting slip comprising a code for the punter's name, race numbers, horse numbers, codes for the bets, and the betting amount.

The judge is expected to hear final submissions from both parties today.

Munce was charged in September by the Independent Commission Against Corruption with one count of conspiracy to accept an advantage, in the period between December 2005 and July.

He has pleaded not guilty, denying that he had conspired to offer race tips to Mr Lau through Indian businessman Dinesh Kumar Daswani or arrange for Mr Lau to place bets for him.

Mr Daswani, who gave evidence under immunity, earlier told the court that under the betting arrangements, Munce was entitled to winnings - approximately HK$800,000 - and Mr Lau would absorb any loss.

Prosecuting counsel John Dunn earlier alleged that the betting arrangements were to facilitate bets on Munce's mounts.

He said Mr Lau would place bets on behalf of Munce, who would receive winnings for supplying race information and riding his mounts to produce the desired results.