The almost weekly news reports of anti-gambling busts across Asia Pacific countries were consolidated into a progress report from the International Police Association this week.
The Interpol statement to major news agencies noted that police across Asia have arrested more than 1 300 people and seized $US 16 million in major swoops on illegal football gambling networks. In May and June, police raided 1 088 illegal gambling dens across the region, many allegedly controlled by organised crime gangs.
Located across China, including in Hong Kong and Macau, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the dens are jointly estimated to have handled some $US 1.5 billion in bets, the statement claimed.
Codenamed Operation SOGA II – short for soccer gambling – the crackdown was timed to coincide with the Euro 2008 football championships and the finals of other football league matches around the world, Interpol said.
"The effect this operation has achieved is substantial," the international police agency's director of police services, Jean-Michel Louboutin, said in the statement from Interpol HQ in Lyon, France.
Louboutin added that the operation, the second of its kind, "forms an excellent base for collective security efforts during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics," which kick off on August 8.