25 arrests follow World Cup bets worth HK$66 million

6/13/10 – Hong Kong police spokesmen told Agence France Presse over the weekend that they have smashed an illegal World Cup betting ring, arresting 25 persons in the raids.
The ring is alleged to have taken more than HK$66 million (US$8.5 million) in bets on the international football spectacle.
Authorities revealed that police had launched a series of raids after the tournament kicked off Friday which has yielded the arrest of 19 men and six women, and the confiscation of betting slips for wagers placed online and by telephone.
Police in the raiding parties confiscated HK$350,000 in cash.
A police spokesman told AFP that those arrested have not yet been charged, but are being held on suspicion of money laundering and illegal gambling.
The raids are believed to be the work of the special police task force set up earlier this year (see previous InfoPowa report) to combat wagering on the World Cup.
Hong Kong betting is confined legally to the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which says that some HK$35 billion was legally wagered through its facilities on football last year. It is believed that considerably more than this is wagered on illegal online betting sites by soccer-mad Hong Kong fans, although reliable figures are not readily available.