Macau Targeted in INTERPOL Raids
A massive INTERPOL operation has revealed illegal betting during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Macau. 16 people were arrested in the Vegas of the East from an illegal gambling ring that targeted Mainland China gamblers. In a release, the international police organization said that between June 22 and July 16, it conducted thousands of raids in several Asian locations and arrested suspects involved in the illegitimate wager businesses.
The 16 people arrested were brought into custody in different locations of Hong Kong and Macau, following raids in several casinos and residential buildings in the two regions. The police seized cash, vehicles, computers, mobiles and accounting books from the arrested.
Known as Operation SOGA VII (soccer gambling acronym) the total number of raids performed during this operation was 14,900. Illegal gambling dens in Hong Kong and Macau weren’t the only targets. Also targeted were Mainland China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Illegal gambling dens are estimated to have handled bets worth $1.6 billion during the World Cup event held in Russia a few weeks ago.
In Hong Kong alone, the INTERPOL made 242 arrests related to the illegal gambling world. The efforts were coordinated by the Organized and Emerging Crime Directorate of the INTERPOL. Hong Kong’s Organized Crime and Triad Bureau’s chief superintendent Tat-Shing Man said that the Hong Kong police seized betting slips that were worth $16.8 million. However, the success of Operation SOGA VII is mostly because of global and regional police cooperation which couldn’t have been possible without INTERPOL’s assistance.
Tat-Shing Man also said that the participating jurisdictions used the experience they had collected in the previous six SOGA campaigns. This helps them in anticipating risks and finding links between the Asian betting syndicates and the illegal sports betting rings that operate beyond the Asian borders, especially during major sporting events like the World Cup.