News of online gambling busts in a number of Asian countries got overshadowed by the holiday festivities, but Christmas is over, snowflakes, so on with the judicial show.
In Vietnam, authorities in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau arrested 22 Chinese nationals accused of operating an illegal online gambling and credit card fraud ring. Police raided three villas and seized 54 computers, over 300 mobile phones and more than 200 blank credit cards.
Unlike most illegal gambling operations, the arrested individuals reportedly weren’t interested in serving the needs of other gamblers. Instead, the accused appear to have been gambling online with Chinese-language gambling sites but using bogus credit cards and withdrawing any winnings to bank accounts in the US and the UK.
Across the border in China, police in Zhejiang province arrested six individuals accused of masterminding an illegal online casino operation that catered to around 400 customers who collectively wagered nearly RMB100m (US$14.5m) over an unspecified period. As with most Chinese news of this sort, the arrest happened months ago, but word is only now leaking out through official channels.
In the Philippines, three South Korean nationals were arrested on the weekend for operating a makeshift illegal online gambling operation out of a condominium in Cebu City. Police received a tip-off about the operation two months ago, prompting them to put the condo under surveillance, leading to the arrests of the two men and one woman.
In Malaysia, police busted an illegal online gambling operation that catered to customers in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The operation reportedly employed a captive workforce of 32 Chinese nationals whom the authorities claim were ‘rescued’ following raids on a four-story bungalow in an upscale district of the state of Selangor.
The Chinese nationals were reportedly ‘lured’ to Malaysia with the promise of lucrative office jobs, but instead found themselves handling customer service for gamblers. A couple individuals who protested their situation were reportedly beaten and chained up in order to discourage any further displays of independence. Police continue to search for the operation’s ringleaders.