Hi-tech gambler found dead

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 October, 1997, 12:00am

FLAMBOYANT professional punter Robert Moore was found dead in his Happy Valley flat last night, after apparently swallowing 10 bags of sleeping pills and turning on his gas cooker.

Moore, 44, was found slumped on a chair in the kitchen of the Wong Nai Chung Road apartment by his 33-year-old wife, Joane Chua, shortly after 8 pm.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Moore's death follows reports that he had overdosed on pills on Wednesday.

The colourful New Zealander, who claimed to have won 'hundreds of millions' on horse racing using a complex computer technology system, left no suicide note.

Moore was also the owner of Ridgway's Bar in Wan Chai, where his wife was general manager. The bar closed its doors in respect last night.

Police said the couple had been married less than a year but separated a week ago. Moore leaves a 13-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

'She called at the flat on Friday night and he told her he was depressed and was going to sleep,' a police spokesman said.

'She returned last night to find him on a chair in the kitchen and the gas cooker turned on'.

Investigators found 10 empty bags for sleeping pills in the kitchen bin.

In August, Moore announced he was quitting the gambling business and offering the secret of his multi-million dollar winning formula to the highest bidder. He had not found a buyer.

Moore was one of a high-rolling group of professional punters, mostly Australians and New Zealanders, who bet on Hong Kong races. He recently said he was focusing on promoting pool in Asia.

He hit the headlines when the Jockey Club froze his account when it reached the $21 million limit the club places on telephone betting last year.

Moore refused to accept the ruling and threatened legal action before the club allowed him to open several accounts, all in his own name.

'I have created history,' he said at the time. 'I have done everyone a favour, opening the way for others to have more than one account.' Last night his lawyer Kevin Egan said: 'Bob was the sort of character who would go through what you might call mood swings.

'He was up one minute and angry with the world the next.' Ridgway's Bar manager Adam Hamilton-Fletcher said Moore had appeared unhappy.

'I last saw him on Tuesday when he came in with a few friends to play pool. He liked to party but he did seem unhappy about a few things,' he said.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post last month, Moore said: 'I get highly strung when I am around stupid people and there are a lot of them in this world. I should give them more patience and I am working on that.' Born in Auckland, Moore said he had arrived with A$5, but now owned a bar, restaurant, houses, property and debentures around the world.

He had become an outcast from the four large computer-betting syndicates in Hong Kong.

'With all my clashes with the Jockey Club and also the publicity, it's brought attention to gambling in general,' he said.

'Some people drive and drive for money all their lives. Why? You only need a certain amount. You don't need to be mega-millionaire. Take a break and step off the train, and have a look around and enjoy life.'