Police target HK$10m betting gang

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2012, 12:00am


Police say they have struck a heavy blow against a triad-controlled bookmaking syndicate that raked in HK$10 million in illegal bets on soccer matches and horse racing in the past nine months.

This follows the arrest of a 33-year-old suspected Wo Shing Wo triad member during a raid on a flat in Tai Wo Hau Road, Kwai Chung, at about 7am yesterday.

Senior Inspector Stephen Cheng Ka-chun of New Territories South regional crime unit said it was believed the flat had been used as the syndicate's betting centre for nine months.

'Investigations indicated that illegal bookies collected bets from punters by phone and then stored betting records in a computer in the unit,' he said.

In the raid - the latest in a citywide anti-gambling operation mounted during the Euro 2012 football tournament - police also seized betting orders, three mobile phones, a computer and HK$53,000 in local and mainland currency.

Cheng said the biggest single bet was HK$500,000 on a soccer match, although not a Euro 2012 game.

Officers believe the syndicate was controlled by a Wo Shing Wo gang that had been in operation since last September. The suspect, a Hong Kong man, was arrested for alleged illegal bookmaking and money laundering. Last night he was being held for questioning and no charge had been laid. Police said they were still looking for a mastermind and other bookmakers.

On Sunday, officers from the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau broke up a money-laundering and illegal bookmaking racket that accepted HK$100 million a month in illegal bets on soccer matches and horse races. Twelve people were arrested. It is the largest syndicate police have smashed during the operation.

In the raid on its operational base in a Western commercial unit, officers confiscated betting records on soccer matches and horse races with a face value of HK$50 million and seized seven computers.

Initial investigations showed that the syndicate had laundered more than HK$700 million in proceeds from illegal bookmaking activities in the past two years, according to police.

Since the Euro 2012 tournament began on June 8, police have arrested 24 people and seized HK$93 million in illegal bets on soccer matches and horse racing in five separate cases.