SHANGHAI – Police have busted an illegal online gambling ring which, according to police, handled over US $18.1b in sports bets.
Investigations into the group began in October last year, and on April 11th this year police detained 63 individuals. According to police reports, the operation connected gamblers with internationally based online gambling sites. The operation was started by a 41-year-old man, known only as “Hong”, who set up an online gambling site in Macau. Hong had initially allowed only his close friends to play on the sites but later recruited 17 agents to further ecruit bettors. This operation gradually expanded to over 10k. While no arrests have yet been made, police have frozen 58 bank accounts.
Authorities expect to expose more illegal gambling rings such as these, what with the 2014 FIFA World Cup due to begin. According to the assistant chief of Malaysia’s Secret Societies, Gambling and Vice Division, gamblers in Malaysia wagered around US $154m) during the 2010 World Cup and this number is expected to increase. 227 people were arrested in 2010 for illegal online betting or organizing online betting. Authorities will be working with local and international online agencies in order to identify illegal betting sites.