Police arrested 13 people yesterday as they busted a horse-racing gambling syndicate believed to have taken about HK$6.3 billion in bets.
Officers from a New Territories North anti-triad unit seized betting records during their raid at an industrial building unit on Kin Fat Street, Tuen Mun, as well as at other premises in Yuen Long and Aberdeen.
The Tuen Mun unit is believed to be the syndicate's headquarters, and there was a race meeting at Sha Tin when police raided it yesterday.
Police said that every race day the syndicate received as much as HK$100 million worth of bets, placed online and by telephone.
It had allegedly been operating since the start of the racing season in September - covering 63 race meetings before it was busted.
In the last racing season, from September 2012 to the middle of last year, the Jockey Club, which holds a government-granted monopoly on betting on the horses and football, received an average of HK$1.1 billion in bets for each of its 83 horse-race meetings.
In the raid, police also seized about HK$44,000 in local currency and renminbi, electronic devices and horse-racing journals. The ring is believed to be linked to the triads.
The group of 13 people arrested - 11 men and two women, all local and aged from 27 to 66 - were detained for questioning. Some are believed to have a triad background. No charges were laid yesterday.
Police said the ring might still be in operation and that further arrests might soon be made.
A Jockey Club spokesman said last night that illegal betting remained a serious problem.
Illegal bookmakers often offered different kinds of financial incentives to lure people into placing bets with them, he said.
The spokesman added that the club would work closely with the authorities in cracking down on illegal betting activities.