Thai and Chinese police busted last week another illegal online gambling operation in Thailand, Thai police officers announced earlier today.
In a joint operation, police from the two countries arrested 34 individuals, most of whom Chinese nationals, on illegal gambling charges as well as for the alleged operation of an illegal financial operation.
Thai Deputy Tourism Police Chief Pol Maj-Gen Surachet Hakpal disclosed more details about the latest nabbing of an illegal gambling ring in the country at a press conference held today at the headquarters of the Royal Thai Police. The official said that Chinese police cooperated in catching the 34 suspects, of whom 24 were Chinese nationals.
Thai police raided last Friday as many as 14 locations in Bangkok, Phuket, Nonthaburi, and Chon Buri. Nineteen of the arrested individuals were suspected to be part of call center gangs; 17 of them were from China, one was from Vanuatu and the other from Myanmar.
Another 15 individuals were detained for their alleged ties with online gambling gangs. Nine of them were Chinese nationals, while three were from Myanmar and the other three were from Northern Thailand.
Most of the arrested suspects were based in Phuket, which is known to be among Thailand’s largest tech hubs. Pol Maj-Gen Surachet said today that they targeted mostly Chinese victims via the WeChat messaging app.
Record Number of Gambling-Related Arrests During World Cup
Football and betting on football matches is particularly popular in Thailand, even though the latter activity is strictly prohibited under the country’s gambling laws. Gearing up for the expected increase in betting activity, Thai police set up a special center that was tasked with clamping down on illegal gambling ahead of and during the Russia World Cup.
Police officers announced last week that three times as much gambling arrests were made during the 2018 edition of the major sporting event than four years ago when it took place in Brazil. As many as 15,007 gamblers, including three individuals under 18, were arrested in the period between May 1-July 15, 2018, Thai police revealed. In addition, 695 illegal gambling operators and 166 gambling ticket runners were also nabbed during the above period. Assets and cash seized by police during raids totaled BHT51.2 million.
The largest number of bettors who were wagering money with illegal gambling operations were caught ahead of and during the World Cup final between France and Croatia. A total of 1,000 people were nabbed on illegal gambling charges related to that match, police revealed.
In comparison, the 2014 World Cup saw the arrest of 4,679 gamblers, 258 individuals providing illegal sports betting services, and 127 ticket runners. Police also seized THB12.4 million in cash during gambling-related raids.
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