Just hours before Portugal ended Wales’ fairytale run at the UEFA title, Hong Kong authorities raided a number of locations across the city, breaking up five different bookmaking operations, arresting 19 individuals and confiscating more than HKD 400m (US $51.5m) in illegal wagers.
The single largest seizure resulted in HKD 250m confiscated from a 33-year-old man working out of a public housing flat. The operation had reportedly been accepting illegal wagers for several months and a source told the South China Morning Post that the numbers had “soared by several fold” ahead of the Euro 2016 semi-final matches.
A separate raid turned up betting records worth HKD 100m and HKD 410k in cash. Authorities suspected this operation, which had been taking wagers for the past six months, had links to the infamous 14K triad.
A trio of other raids uncovered betting records worth HKD 34.2m, HKD 12m and HKD 4.5m. One of the rings reportedly collected illegal bets via popular social networking apps WeChat and WhatsApp.
Hong Kong police suggested their Euro 2016 arrestapalooza would uncover more illegal operations before the final match is played this Sunday. The HKD 550m in confiscated betting records to date is over four times the sum police netted during the entire Euro 2012 tournament.
Perhaps feeling a little inadequate, Malaysian authorities recently announced that they’d broken up an illegal online gambling ring operating out of a suburban house in Johor Baru. Police arrested a 43-year-old man who accepted wagers of nearly RM21m ($5.2m) and offered punters credit limits of between RM2m and RM10m.