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HomeNewsHong KongHong Kong police arrest almost 60 people in illegal sports betting crackdown

Hong Kong police arrest almost 60 people in illegal sports betting crackdown

Hong Kong police have arrested almost 60 people in a crackdown on illegal online gambling websites that have taken HK$460 million ($58.9 million) in bets on football, horse racing, and card games since the start of 2024.

According to the South China Morning Post, the operation, code-named “Nearspace”, was launched just before the start of the Euro 2024 football championship. The 57 people arrested included five alleged core members behind five gambling websites, as well as 20 alleged middlemen controlling bookmaking accounts linked to the sites.

The Hong Kong police had previously issued a warning regarding a surge in illegal football betting ahead of the upcoming UEFA European Football Championship.

Police also arrested others suspected of using bank accounts to launder the proceeds of the illegal gambling, with Hong Kong authorities finding HK$164 million ($21 million) in illegal bets on the devices of the middlemen.

They warned that while the websites claim to be legally registered overseas, any online gambling sites other than those approved by Hong Kong law are considered illegal.

The police said the crackdown reflects a shift towards the digitalization of bookmaking. They emphasized that the public should only place bets through legal channels, as unauthorized bookmakers may offer betting combinations not available at the city’s legal gambling venues.

Those convicted of illegal bookmaking in Hong Kong face up to seven years in jail and a HK$5 million fine ($640,409), while using an unauthorized bookmaker carries a penalty of up to nine months in prison and a HK$50,000 ($6,404) fine.

Nelson Moura
Nelson Mourahttp://agbrief.com
Editor and reporter with 10 years of experience in Greater China, namely Taiwan and Macau, in printed and online media, with a focus on finance, gaming, politics, crime, business and social issues.

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