China’s Organised Crime and Triad Bureau has undertaken 30 cross-border raids leading to 71 arrests and the confiscation of HK$100 million in betting slips.
The charges include bookmaking and money laundering, the South China Morning Post reports.
“The ring worked in four tiers: overseas bookmakers; senior brokers; brokers; and gamblers,” Bert Lo Chung-wong, chief inspector from the Bureau revealed at a press briefing.
“The senior brokers sometimes acted as the bookmakers and received bets directly from gamblers. Or they passed the bets to overseas bookmakers to earn brokerage.”
Operators face up to seven years imprisonment and/or a HK$5 million fine under the Gambling Ordinance, while bettors placing wagers with the illegal bookmakers face a fine of HK$30,000 and nine months’ jail time.
Chung-Wong detailed the majority of bets placed were on soccer and horse racing, warning bettors to refrain from placing illegal wagers ahead of the World Cup in Russia
In related news, the Public Security Bureau of Guangdong province and Dongguan Public Security Bureau raided 28 further locations, arresting 50 and confiscating HK$130 million in betting records.
The arrests reportedly included “two of the masterminds of the syndicate”.