Tuesday June 10,2014 : BIG ASIAN CROSS-BORDER GAMBLING SYNDICATE BUST
Probably the biggest gambling bust in Hong Kong's history, say authorities.
A large scale cross-border operation undertaken by Hong Kong-mainland police has netted 26 people suspected of taking illegal bets on football and horse racing to the tune of HK$767 million (GBP 58.9 million).
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), HK$ 11 million in cash was seized (GBP 844 961) by authorities during the Hong Kong raids with the head of the gambling syndicate reported to have been among those detained.
"In terms of the seizure of betting records and cash, I would say it is the biggest-ever bookmaking syndicate in the city's history," said Superintendent Dan Ng Wai-hon of the police organised crime and triad bureau.
Police believe 11 of those arrested in Hong Kong are members of the 14K and Sun Yee On triad societies. The head of the syndicate, a 46-year-old Hong Kong resident is believed to belong to the 14K triad.
The collaborative operation saw Chinese mainland police arrest another three people in Shenzhen and Dongguan along with bet records totaling 320 million Yuan (GBP 30.5 million).
Three password-protected websites developed in South America were allegedly used to collect online bets placed on soccer matches in Europe and South America and horse racing in Hong Kong and Australia. The racket is believed to have been in operation for around six months.
"We believe the syndicate had thousands of customers" in Hong Kong, on the mainland, and outside the country, a police source told SCMP. "Some punters were offered a credit limit of HK$50 million each."
None of the detained had been charged when we went to press.
A task force set up by Hong Kong police in collaboration with counterparts in Guangdong and Macau will work in conjunction with Interpol in eight Asian countries to fight illegal soccer betting during the World Cup tournament.
Ng warned more crackdowns would come as authorities prepared for an increased interest in betting over the next month.