Friday, July 20, 2012

SPF arrests 74 for illegal soccer betting as part of Asia-wide Interpol raids

SINGAPORE: About 300 people were arrested and over US$780,000 was seized in a two-month joint operation to combat illegal soccer gambling in Asia linked to organised crime gangs.

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) was also part of the operation, coordinated by global policing body, Interpol.

It joined forces with those from China (including Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR), Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

They made over 200 raids on illegal gambling dens which were estimated to have handled around US$85 million worth of bets.

The operation, codenamed Operation SOGA (Soccer Gambling), covered the final matches of major national football leagues across Europe, the UEFA championships and EURO 2012.

On its part, the SPF arrested a total of 74 subjects believed to be involved in illegal betting activities.
The estimated value of the illegal bets collected by the syndicates was believed to total over S$7 million.

Besides cash of more than S$78,000, police also seized computers, laptops, modems, routers, mobile phones, thumbdrives and other items believed to be used for illegal betting activities.
Investigations against the 74 subjects are still on.

Operation SOGA was first conducted by Interpol in 2007.

So far, four SOGA operations have been conducted, resulting in more than 7,000 arrests worldwide and the seizure of nearly US$27 million, as well as the closure of illegal gambling dens which handled more than US$2 billion worth of bets.

Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck, said: "These series of operations show our resolve to clamp down on illegal gambling activities. We will come down hard on subjects, regardless of whether they are individuals betting illegally or are part of a syndicate collecting illegal bets. We will also continue to work closely with Interpol in combating such illicit activities".

Under the Betting Act, any person who bets with a bookmaker can be fined up to S$5,000, or jailed up to six months, or both.

Those involved in bookmaking can be fined between S$20,000 and S$200,000, and jailed up to five years.


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