Officials in Cambodia have busted an illegal online gambling ring operating in the town of Poipet. The operation, headed by Malaysian and Chinese criminals was run by over 55 foreign nationals.
Police conducted raids in Poipet on Tuesday, where all 55 were arrested. Local media is reporting that police were tipped off to the operation by locals, who reported suspicious activity from a villa, where the majority of the gang were operating from. Locals say the gang was so busy during the day taking wagers from punters in their home countries that they only appeared at night.
The Poipet Major of policing, Sok Bora, told local media that the successful raids – carried out on two villas – had caught the criminals in the act of ‘operating their illegal betting business’, and that police had now seized a number of electronic devices, including computers, mobile phones, and other tools related to the betting operation.
Bora went on to describe the suspects as being “part of a foreign mafia who were hiding in Cambodia.” After their arrest, the criminals were transported to an immigration facility, where they are being held pending various court hearings.
The bust comes just a few weeks after Malaysian authorities busted a Chinese-led illegal online gambling operation in Kuala Lumpur, and while this is good news for the authorities, it appears as though this will turn into a cat and mouse game unless Chinese authorities step up their game, and begin investigation Chinese nationals.
The reason the operation is believed to have been based in Poipet is that it’s one of Cambodia’s “casino hubs”, and thousands of punters come from nearby Thailand every week to gamble, as gambling is illegal in Thailand. The vast majority of operators in Poipet are allowed to host online gambling operations, with the proviso that they do NOT accept wagers from Cambodian residents – and in the last few years, the Cambodian government has issued a number of online gambling permits to businesses, to enable them to offer both on, and offline gambling facilities.
The recent bust will come as good news to those operators running things by the book, and it’s likely that we’ll see more busts in the near future, as authorities continue to crackdown on rogue gambling outfits.