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Man Detained For $500 Crypto Betting

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A man has been accused of breaking Taiwan’s President and Vice President Election Recall Act after using an online crypto-gambling site to wager on the presidential elections. Thirty people have been detained in Taiwan for betting on the country’s electoral results.

Man Detained For $500 Crypto Betting

On Monday, Taiwanese news outlet LTN revealed a man is facing charges for allegedly breaking the election recall act at the end of 2023. The Prosecutor’s office in the Shilin District accused a man with the last name “Chen” of using the crypto-betting site Polymarket to wager around $500 on the presidential election.

Seemingly, Chen used his phone to access Polymarket’s website and bet 472.17 USDC on Ko Wen-je’s victory during the presidential elections. Additionally, he bet another 60.16 USDC that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would win a majority of legislative seats.

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Polymarket’s website displays several election-related betting markets. Source: Polymarket

The authorities’ investigation concluded that Chen placed bets between December 12 and December 17, a month before the event. As a result, the Taiwanese man had violated the President and Vice President Election Recall Act, which prohibits gambling on the results of the elections.

The prosecutors also argued that Chen had violated the public official election law by “using the internet to gamble on the results of the elections of the central government officials.”

According to article 88-1 of the Election Recall Act, Taiwanese citizens who gamble on the outcome of the country’s elections, whether it’s in person or online, will face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to NT$100,000, worth around $3,100.

A person who gambles in a public place or a place open to the public on the outcome of an election or recall shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than six months, short-term detention, or a fine of not more than NT$100,000. The same shall apply to gambling via telecommunication equipment, electronic communication, internet, or other similar means on the outcome of an election or recall.

Meanwhile, those who make a profit on the outcome of an election or recall by incentivizing betting, or offering a gambling space, can receive a sentence of up to five years and receive a NT$500,000 fine, worth around $15,500.

Per the report, Chen confessed to the crime and collaborated with authorities, which granted him a deferred prosecution. Due to his lack of criminal record, he was allowed to pay a fine of $4,000 to the public treasury and defer prosecutions for a year.

Taiwan’s Crackdown On Electoral Gambling

Chen was not the first man detained by Taiwan’s authorities for breaking the election recall act. Local reports have informed of nearly 30 people being arrested for using Polymarket and other crypto-gambling sites to bet on the elections.

Ahead of the presidential elections, Taiwan authorities blocked Polymarket’s website. On December 22, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CBI), alongside Taiwan’s domain name registrar, restricted the use of the crypto prediction site locally.

By January, authorities had arrested 28 people and confiscated around $13,500 in crypto for breaking the election recall act. The accused faced the maximum five-year fixed sentence if found guilty of profiting from bets made on an election.

According to the local reports, over $700,000 had been wagered on the presidential elections 11 days before the event.

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