Major Online Football Betting Ring Broken up by Malaysian Police

Filed under: Casino News |

Chinese organisers among the 137 people arrested

In one of the biggest busts yet seen in anti-online gambling initiatives in Malaysia, police report that a football betting ring exploiting top British matches has been broken up with the arrest Thursday of 137 people, mostly originating from China and Taiwan.

Police spokesman Abdul Rashid Abdul Wahab revealed that only five of those arrested were Malaysians. “They were involved in football gambling, online gambling and in computer scam activities,” he said.

The ring organised betting on English Premier League games, and other forms of online gambling, but is also alleged to have carried out Internet scams that sought to obtain the credit card numbers of victims in China, Taiwan and Portugal by sending fake email notices claiming the recipients had overdue debts.

The spokesman described the criminal organisation as relatively sophisticated, with the five bungalows raided by police Thursday well equipped with closed-circuit televisions systems for security and advance warning of police activity.

Police conducted the raid after receiving a tip-off from an informant.

Aseh Che Mat, chairman of the Football Association of Malaysia’s (FAM) transparency committee applauded the break up of the ring.

“I praise the swift action by Malaysian police to wipe out this syndicate. Criminal syndicates must realise they cannot sustain their activities in Malaysia for long,” he said.

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Alex Soosay also hailed the raid. “Gambling has been detrimental to the development of football in Asia,” he said.

UPDATE: As this story spread across global mainstream media, further details of the police action surfaced.

It appears that the police tip-off was originally that the raided premises were involved in drug activity, but that the police nevertheless scored a major anti-crime hit due to the diverse criminal activity taking place around the complex, which included internet-based fraud scams.

One police spokesman has since estimated that, based on seized records, the criminal enterprise generated revenues in excess of US$1.3 billion in just over a month of operation.

The ring operated from several luxury bungalows in an upscale gated community “home to several ministers and former cabinet members,” The Star newspaper reported. The bungalows had closed-circuit video systems for security and suspects were equipped with 241 mobile phones and 43 computers, the New Straits Times said.

It now appears that the number of those held by police is 144.