Hong Kong police have confiscated about HK$130 million in betting records and arrested more than 50 people in a crackdown on illegal football gambling launched ahead of the Euro 2016 tournament.
One of the bookmaking rackets, which had raked in orders of HK$31 million, was broken up on June 10, hours before the opening match between France and Romania kicked off.
Some bets were placed on the Copa America tournament being played in the United States at the same time. During the final between Argentina and Chile on Monday morning (Hong Kong time), officers raided three locations, arrested three men and seized HK$5.5 million in betting slips.
More seizures and arrests are expected to be made before the crackdown, mounted by police in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong, ends on July 10, sources with knowledge of the operation said.
In Hong Kong, operation “crowbeak” is being coordinated by the organised crime and triad bureau.
Some ringleaders placed huge bets on overseas gambling websites to alleviate their risk, one source said. It is understood most of those arrested were bookmakers with triad backgrounds.
The source said the bookies had ditched their old methods of phone calls and betting slips.
“Investigations showed most punters communicated with bookies and placed their bets through WhatsApp messages that were encrypted.”
Bookmakers accept bets on credit and payments can be settled once a week