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World Cup bets taken alone amounted to GBP 679.9 million
Yet another major Asian betting syndicate has been dismantled by Hong Kong police cracking down on illegal internet betting on the World Cup.
Police spokesmen said this week that the syndicate had taken in 7 billion yuan (GBP 679.9 million) during the World Cup alone, and that its influence and activities extended across southern China and Hong Kong.
74 peole involved in the syndicate have so far been arrested in an enforcement initiative dubbed ‘Operation Copperflame’.
During several major police actions betting records and equipment associated with online gambling had been seized, spokesmen disclosed. Investigations turned up over 400 different bank accounts used to process the financial aspects of the betting.
"Police are committed to combating illegal bookmaking activities through intelligence-led operations and liaison with neighbouring enforcement agencies during the World Cup tournament," a police statement proclaimed.
The Hong Kong busts are dwarfed by earlier anti-online gambling actions mounted by the mainland China police in which a secretive internet betting network headed by a mysterious character known as ‘Dark Brother’ was smashed. In that operation bets of 100 billion yuan were uncovered.
Asian police forces in several countries have since early June maintained an unrelenting pressure in their efforts to deter gambling on the football World Cup, which concludes in South Africa this weekend.