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Thursday, July 7, 2016, 17:45

Police raid nets HK$400m in soccer betting records

Police raid nets HK$400m in soccer betting records

HONG KONG — The police arrested a total of 19 people and seized soccer betting records of more than HK$400 million in a citywide raid against illegal betting on Wednesday, amounting to nearly half the total betting turnover seized by the authorities in the past five years.

The operation, codenamed Crowbeak, was conducted by the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau on Wednesday night – hours before the semi-final of Euro 2016 between Wales and Portugal.

In the single largest betting record seized, a HK$250 million betting record was found in a flat at Ping Shek Estate in Kwun Tong, together with a mobile phone and a computer. A 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of illegal bookmaking during the raid.

Another six men and five women were arrested in a raid on a flat in New Street, Yuen Long. A HK$100 million soccer betting record was seized, along with HK$410,000 cash and 12 mobile phones and four computers used in the illegal bookmaking and gambling.

The police, acting on information from a source, kicked off the operation against illegal bookmaking at around 8 pm by raiding a flat in the Western Mid-levels area of Hong Kong Island. Officers seized a HK$34.2 million betting record on a computer and arrested a 23-year-old man.

In a written reply to an inquiry by a lawmaker on Wednesday, Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah said that for the past five years betting turnover of HK$992 million was seized over 140 raids against illegal bookmaking on soccer and a mix of betting products including horse racing, soccer and the Mark Six.

The Gambling Ordinance stipulates a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a fine of HK$5 million for a conviction for illegal bookmaking, while anyone placing bets is liable to a nine-month jail term and a fine of HK$30,000.

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