Massive World Cup Football Gambling Ring Bust In Macau

Police shut down $645 million illegal enterprise

In one of the biggest illegal gambling busts yet seen in World Cup football, police in Macau announced the shuttering of a HK$ 5 billion ($645 million) illegal gambling ring Friday.

In one wager alone placed through the company $5.1 million was risked.

The Agence France Presse reports that 22 individuals were arrested during the police operation

"Records showed that [betting] had reached HK$5 billion. It has already surpassed the biggest betting case in history," Suen Kam-fai, a spokesman for the Macau police told Hong Kong's Cable News channel.

The spokesman revealed that more than HK$2 million (US$258,029) in cash was found in Macau hotel rooms that served as the ring's operating base, along with 17 computers, records and other items…and officers found evidence of one $5.1 million bet.

Those arrested included four Hong Kong residents, nine Malaysians and nine persons from the Chinese mainland, the South China Post reported.

Hong Kong police have set up a task force with Macau and Guangdong authorities and are also working with Interpol across eight Asian countries to fight illegal betting during the World Cup, it said.

AFP notes that Doha-based watchdog International Centre for Sport Security warned in a May 2014 report that Asian-dominated criminal groups are laundering more than US$140 billion in illegal sports betting annually.

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