Hong Kong police bust illegal gambling syndicate

Illegal gambling syndicate collected HK$133 million (US$17.2million) over 14 months between December 2017 and January 2019.

Hong Kong.- Police have arrested 17 members of an illegal gambling after they were caught operating an online casino.

According to the South China Morning Post, the ring collected HK$133 million (US$17.2million) over 14 months between December 2017 and January 2019,

Police also froze HK$4.5 million (US$580,000) in bank accounts controlled by members of the syndicate that had been in operation since December 2017.

The syndicate used a foreign gambling website that provided a variety of live video gambling for games such as roulette, baccarat, blackjack and poker as well as dice games and slot machines.

The syndicate recruited bookies who were responsible for finding punters to gamble on the website and they avoided detection because the server of the website was moved between North America and Europe.

Gamblers were instructed to transfer money into bank accounts or stored value facilities to buy points from bookies who helped them set up accounts on the website.

The bookies laundered the money through different accounts and withdrew cash from money changers.

“They managed to buy four game points for HK$1 from the syndicate and then sold the [four] points for HK$8 to their clients,” one police source said.

The source said the investigation showed the syndicate had attracted thousands of gamblers in the city since it started operating.

In Hong Kong, engaging in illegal bookmaking carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and a HK$5million (around US$644,800) fine under the Gambling Ordinance.

The maximum penalty for money laundering is 14 years in prison and a HK$5million fine.

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