Malaysian police in Penang took the anti-illegal gambling Op Dadu intiiative in a new direction over the weekend, raiding 15 illegal lottery betting centres following public tip-offs.
A combined task force of local police and Penang’s Criminal Investigations Department reported the arrest of 26 individuals on gambling charges during the raids.
Federal Anti-Vice, Gambling and Secret Society Department assistant director Datuk Rohaimi Md Isa said at a press conference following the raids:
“We have done numerous raids before, but this was the first large-scale specifically focused operation on tackling illegal lottery betting.”
He added that the illegal betting system in use was quite sophisticated, with even foreign agencies in Thailand and Cambodia betting through online channels.
Nevertheless, the bets were localised and prizes claimed from Penang in a switch from the traditional modus operandi where a runner placing bets on behalf of customers, to one in which premises are set up and customers can walk in and place bets themselves.
He said that the syndicate’s customers can place bets as often as twice a day – by 3pm for morning bets and 9pm for evening bets – unlike legal lottery betting which is limited to certain days and special draws.
“We do not have online ones here, so they accept online betting from Thailand and Cambodia in their illicit activities,” the police officer explained, revealing that the illegal betting centres had been camouflaged as businesses trading in clothing and handbags.