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Crime in Hong Kong

Hong Kong police arrest teen bookie and seize HK$2.4 million in illegal World Cup betting records

17-year-old a suspected triad member and believed to be using flat as call centre

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 June, 2018, 2:04pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 June, 2018, 10:57pm

A 17-year-old Hong Kong youth was among two suspected bookmakers arrested on Thursday night as police seized HK$2.4 million (US$305,000) in soccer betting records, in the force’s latest operations during the World Cup.

The teenager, believed to be a Sun Yee On triad member, was picked up at about 10pm when anti-triad officers raided a flat on Kwong Fuk Road in Tai Po.

A police source said it was thought the premises were used as a call centre, where the suspect took illegal bets on the matches in Russia from punters over the phone.

Inside the flat, officers seized four mobile phones and HK$10,000 in cash along with a notebook containing illegal betting records for the Fifa tournament. The bets were valued at HK$500,000.

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“Initial investigation showed the call centre had been in operation for a few days,” the source said, adding that it had moved locations in a bid to evade police detection.

He said police were trying to find out who recruited the boy.

The call centre had been in operation for a few days
Police source

Officers also arrested three women aged between 21 and 39 in the same flat, after HK$6,000 worth of suspected crack cocaine was found inside.

Police arrested the boy for illegal bookmaking and drug possession, while the three women were arrested for the latter charge.

By midday on Friday, the four suspects were being held for questioning and none had been charged. The four were likely to be released on bail, the source said.

Separately, officers picked up a man, 28, at an outdoor car park on Chuen Lung Street in Tsuen Wan at about 10pm on Thursday.

Police said HK$1.9 million in illegal soccer betting records were found stored on a mobile phone he was carrying. The suspect had a triad background, the force said.

On June 13, the eve of the start of the World Cup, Hong Kong and mainland Chinese police mounted a joint operation and broke up a cross-border bookmaking syndicate. They arrested 50 people and seized HK$78 million in betting records.

During the tournament in Russia, which runs until July 15, the force is intensifying its efforts to stem illegal bookmaking.

In Hong Kong, anyone engaged in illegal bookmaking could face a fine of up to HK$5 million and seven years in jail. Placing bets with illegal bookmakers could lead to a fine of HK$30,000 and nine months in prison.