Hong Kong online gambling ring busted

Hong Kong online gambling ring busted

November 18, 2009.

Police in Hong Kong have arrested a 32-year-old man whom they believe is a key figure in an Online Gambling syndicate that earned some 10 million Hong Kong dollars (about US$1.2 million) in only six months. The identity of the suspect is currently being withheld.

The arrest followed a month-long investigation centred on a website registered outside the Chinese semi-autonomous region, reports Earth Times.

Police claim that the suspect evaded detection by collecting bets personally from Hong Kong punters who were either regular customers or referrals. The syndicate is believed to be one of several illegal gambling operations which have abandoned old methods of bookmaking in favour of online Internet operations.

To avoid detection, gamblers are given passwords to go online and place bets on credit with payments being settled in cash to agents, who then deposit the money in bank accounts or carry it over the border into China where they hand it to other syndicate members.

Earth Times reports that last month, 23 people were arrested and betting orders totalling 12.2 million Hong Kong dollars (1.5 million US dollars) were seized after police carried out several raids on similar syndicates.

Gambling in Hong Kong is illegal except for betting on horse racing and football through the official Jockey Club and a weekly government-run lottery. It is also illegal to place bets with overseas gambling websites, even if it is legal in the country where the websites are based.

A police spokesman said the investigation was continuing with experts from the computer crime bureau checking computers seized from the suspect's home.

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