Cambodian authorities have taken down a Malaysian/Chinese illegal online gambling ring operating in the border town of Poipet.
On Wednesday, the Khmer Times reported that police in Banteay Meanchey province had arrested 55 foreign nationals – 47 of which were Malaysian, the rest Chinese – in a series of raids on two villas in Poipet on Tuesday.
Police were reportedly tipped to the illegal operation after locals noted that, while the villas were stuffed with people, they only emerged at night, apparently too busy during the day taking wagers from customers in their home countries.
Poipet city police Major Sok Bora told the media outlet that the simultaneous raids on the two villas had caught the suspects in the act of operating their illegal betting business and police had seized the now standard assortment of computers, mobile phones and other tools of the trade.
Bora described the suspects as “part of a foreign mafia who were hiding in Cambodia.” The detained individuals are being held by immigration authorities pending court hearings.
Ironically, Cambodia’s bust of a Malaysian/Chinese-led illegal online gambling operation comes just weeks after Malaysian authorities busted a Chinese-led illegal online gambling operation in Kuala Lumpur. By the rules of this game, China now has to bust a Cambodian/Malaysian gambling operation or we have to start the whole thing over from scratch.
Poipet is one of Cambodia’s casino hubs and draws most of its clientele from neighboring Thailand, where locals have no legal casino options. But most of Poipet’s licensed gaming operators also have permission to conduct online gambling operations, provided they don’t accept action from Cambodian customers.
Cambodia has issued dozens of online gambling permits to its casino operators, and one of the most recent Poipet-based casino licensees to launch online is Donaco International, which debuted its live casino and sports betting service out of its Star Vegas property in August.