Cambodian authorities have broken up another Chinese-led online gambling ring, the latest in a series of online busts involving foreign nationals.
Over the weekend, Cambodian media outlets reported that police and immigration officials had raided a villa in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on Friday, arresting 22 Chinese nationals who were caught running an illegal online gambling business.
Police placed the group under surveillance after receiving a tip that some of the Chinese nationals residing in the villa were in the country illegally. The raids uncovered a number of laptops that police determined were used to offer illegal online sports betting, baccarat, roulette and lottery games.
Police said all 22 suspects were facing deportation to China, where the majority of their online gambling clients were undoubtedly located. The bust is the latest in a string of similar arrests this year involving Chinese-run illegal gambling operations.
In March, over 100 Chinese nationals were arrested after being caught operating an illegal gambling business out of a hotel attached to a casino in Poipet. Later that month, 38 Chinese nationals were deported from Cambodia following the disruption of a cross-border online gambling scam that took an estimated $21.5m from over 1k Chinese mainland gamblers.
Cambodia, like its neighbor Thailand, has also been plagued by numerous illegal gambling operations run by South Korean nationals targeting gamblers in their home country.
Cambodia allows licensed casino operators to run online gambling sites provided they don’t accept action from local residents. The only gambling sites legally accessible by locals are online lotteries run by firms like CooTel.