Cops strike big against illegal betting groups

22 Mar 2019 / 12:28 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The men in blue raided 103 illegal betting operations nationwide on Wednesday, scoring a haul of several thousand ringgit in cash along with the arrest of 982 suspects.

Most of the busts took place in Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Johor, Penang and Sarawak.

Federal police Anti-Vice, Gaming and Secret Societies division head SAC Datuk Rohaimi Md Isa (pix) said apart from the cash, police also seized betting chits, record books, mobile printers and portable computers.

Just a day earlier, theSun carried a special report on the extent of the illegal betting operations in Malaysia.

Statistics made available yesterday showed that 15 men and a woman were held for suspected involvement in illegal bookmaking during raids at three locations in Nilai, nine in Jempol and two in Kuala Pilah.

Negri Sembilan is among the three states identified as having the highest number of illegal betting operations in the peninsula. The other two states are Johor and Selangor.

Rohaimi said federal police have also intensified its operations in Selangor.

“The operations by federal police are ongoing, especially on draw days (Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays). To completely eradicate the illegal betting menace is an uphill task,“ he said.

“As soon as we bust one illegal betting operation, the syndicates attempt to set up another elsewhere. In addition, there are online gambling websites that offer similar bets.”

Rohaimi said police will continue conducting these efforts to stamp out such activities nationwide.

“With tip-offs from the public, we are confident that it can be done. Our first step is zeroing in on static premises offering illegal betting.

“As for illegal online betting websites, we are working with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to shut down such portals and block their advertisements.”

He added that apart from prosecuting those responsible, police have also used the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) in cases where a lack of evidence made it difficult to charge them.

“Since we launched Ops Dadu Khas to counter illegal betting activities, we have used Poca on 167 individuals. This year alone, 22 suspects were held for two years under Poca.

When we cannot charge them in court due to lack of evidence, we use Poca. We also apply the Anti-Money Laundering Act to seize and freeze the ill-gotten gains of the suspects,“ he said.

On the police hotline that was launched last year in order for the public to channel information on illegal betting activities, Rohaimi said that initially numerous tip-offs were received but there were fewer calls now.

“This is a good sign as we had acted on all the tip-offs by raiding thousands of premises nationwide and shutting them down. As such, the numbers are dwindling. We urge the public to continue helping us in our war against illegal betting activities.”

On Tuesday and Thursday, theSun featured special front-page investigative reports on the widespread activities of illegal betting syndicates. The reports indicated the syndicates were blatantly operating despite a massive clampdown by police.

It was also revealed that the government suffered losses of over RM3 billion in gaming taxes due to such illegal activities.

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