BUSINESS

Thai authorities freeze bank accounts belonging to online gambling ring

TAGs: thailand

thailand-online-gambling-bustPolice in Thailand have frozen 20 bank accounts belonging to a gang that funneled bettors to at least six online gambling sites. On Thursday, Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tarit Pengdit told reporters that the seized accounts contained over Bt10m (US $321k) linked to the ring, and that warrants have been issued for all the names in which the accounts were registered. The accounts were linked to a further 1,000 accounts owned by punters the gang had roped into their online football betting and casino gambling scheme. The gang reportedly had a core clientele of over 200 heavy-betting punters and DSI intends to question at least 100 of these.

Pengdit claimed that the gang was professionally organized, with clearly defined roles including manager, accountant, phone operators and those who actually deposited and withdrew money from the accounts. Pengdit alleged that the gang’s top recruiting agents were funneling between Bt200m and Bt500m ($6.4m – $16.1m) per month to the online gambling sites. The gang routinely shifted their money between banks, typically keeping accounts active for no more than three months at a stretch.

The URLs of the websites in question were not disclosed. The DSI undertook a campaign against gangs linked to Cambodia-based online gambling sites last fall in which it seized the contents of 103 bank accounts. In May, police in Pattaya bused an online football betting operation being run by South Korean nationals out of a luxury condominium. Thailand doesn’t allow its citizens to gamble online, and even proposals to allow National Lottery players to buy non-pre-printed tickets via terminals in retail outlets – what Thai politicians refer to as ‘online gambling’ – has been hugely controversial.

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