Malaysian Police Busts an Illegal Online Gambling Ring
August 13th, 2020 3.00pm
Illegal gambling is widespread and can be found even in well-regulated markets around the world. Such operations offer no player protection whatsoever and are costly for the local authorities and law enforcement agencies fighting against them.
Many illicit gambling rings, both land-based and online, get busted from time to time, while many other continue to operate without any problems, and even though players may win money, the only real winners are criminal masterminds behind these operations.
Busting an Illegal Gambling Ring
The authorities in the Malaysian state of Penang have recently revealed that local police had busted an illegal gambling ring. According to available information, the revenue this operation generated exceeded £180,000 on a monthly basis.
Following a thorough inquiry, and a series of raids across the state, the police confiscated equipment, while nine individuals were taken into custody. In addition to the members of the illegal online gambling ring, the police managed to catch the leader of this scheme.
In an interview given to local media after the arrests, Datuk Sahabudin Abd Manan, the state police chief said the intelligence and surveillance operations had been carried out in the weeks before the actual bust with one single aim: to fully uncover the illegal gambling operation and all members of the organized criminal group.
The investigation revealed that the group used three luxury apartments, which were turned into centres for accepting wagers. A shophouse was also used by the syndicate for its illegal operations. These properties were scattered around the city of Bukit Mertajam in Penang.
The final stage of the investigation was carried out between July 25 and July 30, when the police raided these properties, arresting eight individuals aged between 19 and 21. The alleged mastermind of the operation was also detained.
According to the inquiry, the illegal online gambling ring primarily focused its attention to local players but also attracted customers from other Malaysian states, including Kedah and Pera.
How Did This Scheme Work?
The illegal scheme would contact potential players by sending them random messages using various messaging apps. Those interested would contact the organizers back to place their stakes. According to the police, the illegal betting scheme worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It was also revealed that the group used 16 bank accounts in different banks to process payments from and to players. All of these accounts have since been frozen, with an additional investigation to be carried out in the coming period.
If you wanted to make a bet, you would have to deposit a certain sum into a bank account that belonged to the illegal gambling ring. You would then receive a password, as well as additional information on how to conduct your online gambling.
The police also seized equipment used by the group to run its illegal gambling ring, including laptops, monitors, smartphones, CPUs, routers and SIM cards. Apart from the individuals arrested during the raid, the authorities are still looking for three persons involved in the operation.
The police chief revealed the group generated between £5,500 and £9,200 in profits every day. According to available information, the illicit scheme had been functioning for almost a year.
Nearly all forms of gambling, both online and offline, are not allowed in Malaysia, which is a predominantly Muslim country. However, the question of legalisation remains a hot topic. The only place where Malaysians can legally gamble without leaving their country is Resort World Genting. The luxury casino venue is located in the Genting Highlands and has been in operation since the mid-1960s.
Police arrested nine individuals, including the leader of the group