Thursday April 23,2015 : TAIWAN POLICE ASSIST IN INTERNATIONAL ONLINE GAMBLING PROBE
CIB helps bust illegal betting Web sites.
The Taipei Times reports that a Taiwanese man has been picked up in a joint international probe into an online gambling syndicate that has seen the arrests of 1,063 people.
Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) has confirmed said that it assisted in the international investigation that smashed what may prove to be the largest illegal online gambling network ever encountered by enforcement agencies.
CIB officials raided several locations in Taiwan suspected od being associated with the gambling operation, which is based in China, but is thought to have had branches or connections in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand.
A 37-year–old Taiwanese man named Huang Yu-jui was arrested, police said, revealing that he is suspected of providing contacts for Taiwanese gamblers and of laundering some of the profits of the people behind the online gambling platform, known as the “25U Online Gambling Network.”
In a series of operations — starting last year and concluding in April — the national police agencies of Taiwan, China, and Thailand worked together to affect the arrests of more than 1,000 people, the majority of who are Chinese.
CIB officials said the Chinese Ministry of Public Security contacted the bureau when its investigators discovered that a substantial proportion of the profits from the syndicate were funneled to Taiwan to be laundered.
Although most of the syndicate’s activities were in China, including Hong Kong, police said the group’s operations were “transnational,” since Internet servers were rented in Thailand and Taiwan to circumvent China’s Internet restrictions.
A CIB official said the network rented servers from Taiwan IDC, a data center and Internet business service company based in Taipei.
Thai authorities said they had arrested seven Chinese nationals in Thailand, with most of them employed by the online gambling enterprise as computer programmers or network server engineers.
Chinese authorities said the syndicate was led by two Chinese based in Guangdong Province’s Shantou City, one surnamed Zhang and the other Wen.
Under the 25U main platform, Zhang and Wen built up more than 200 subsidiary Web sites, which they rented out to individual operators who paid a monthly fee to run their own online gambling operations.
Chinese media outlets reported that each Web site was rented out for 70,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan (US$11,290 to US$16,140) per month, allowing Zhang and Wen to reap big profits.
The reports said hundreds of thousands of Chinese gamblers were placing bets on the membership-based gambling Web sites, with bets on the 25U network Web sites as a whole totaling about NT$2 trillion (US$64 billion) per month.
Besides betting on the results of China’s state lottery, visitors to the Web sites could also play video poker, slot machines, bet on sports and link up to casinos in Macau.
Chinese police earlier this month said they arrested 1,063 people associated with the 25U network, and froze bank accounts belonging to Zhang and Wen.
The bank accounts contained about 330 million yuan, Xinhua news agency reported.