Hong Kong Police Pledges to Investigate Digital Illegal Betting during World Cup 2018

Hong Kong authorities have revealed that local police would remain focused on carrying out operations against digital illegal betting at the time of the World Cup 2018, as the number of bookmakers which choose to go online to avoid being affected by certain regulatory requirements has surged over the past few years.

This basically means that law enforcement and regulatory authorities in Asia plan to even impose stricter measures on illegal sports betting in the region during one of the key sporting events in 2018, which is to be held from June 14th to July 15th.

The last few months have seen Chinese authorities keeping a close eye on illegal online gambling operations. Now, with the World Cup 2018 being just around the corner, a crackdown on dining and entertainment areas in the region is expected to become even stricter, with police raids going online, too.

As revealed by Raymond Chau Man-hin, who works as Senior Inspector at the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau, the Hong Kong police would initiate data gathering and special cyber patrols due to the fact that more gambling companies with offshore servers and betting websites are getting more engaged in providing local customers with illegal gambling services.

The Bureau’s Senior Superintendent Louis Chan Hon-ming revealed that he would lead a special working group, which would include representatives from the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau as well as the Criminal Intelligence Bureau. The group would be engaged in planning the Bureau’s tactics against illegal betting websites.

Digital Gambling Crimes More Difficult to Investigate

As CasinoNewsDaily reported yesterday, local players have started placing more bets by using instant message applications on their mobile devices in order to remain untraceable.

The South China Morning Post reported that according to Senior Inspector Raymond Chau Man-hin, a lot of bets are being placed by making calls on WhatsApp or even sending a voice message on such applications. He further shared that punters also prefer using mobile messenger applications due to the latter’s option to delete messages, which makes investigations more difficult, because no visible traces are left. Normally, cybercrime investigations are more complicated and take more time, as experts need to dig deeper to find enough evidence online.

At the time of the 2014 edition of the World Cup, the region set a betting record estimated to more than $95.6 million. More than 140 sites across the city of Hong Kong were searched by local police, with almost 100 raids being reported as successful. In addition, almost 180 individuals aged from 20 to 65 were arrested by police officers for allegedly taking part in illegal sports betting, operating as bookmakers, as well as in money laundering. Experts have projected that the World Cup 2018 would see similar, if not larger, volumes of sports-betting related crime.

Under the current legislation in Hong Kong, anyone who offers bookmaking services out of law could suffer a monetary penalty amounting to approximately $640,000 and could be jailed for seven years. On the other hand, punters who bet with bookmakers could face a monetary penalty amounting to about $3,830 and could be jailed for a period of nine months.

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