With just a week to go until the World Cup in Brazil, the Hong Kong Police Force has announced a crackdown on illegal soccer gambling in the city, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.
The police said arrests for illegal soccer gambling have fallen from 342 in 2006 to 63 last year but the amount wagered has risen from HK$158 million (US$20.38 million) to HK$225 million in the same period.
Much of the illegal activity is transacted online via servers outside Hong Kong, such as on the mainland, in Taiwan and in South America, making prosecution more difficult.
Illegal gambling sites also offer punters a wide range of bets, from the number of yellow and red cards in a game to the number of corner kicks awarded. And gamblers do not need to deposit money into their account to bet, as they do when they wager legally with the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Ng Wai-hon, chief of the police’s Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said the bureau will team up with other departments to tackle the activity using education, intelligence and prosecution.
Anybody found guilty of illegal soccer gambling faces a HK$30,000 fine and a nine-month prison term, while those taking the bets can be fined HK$5 million and jailed for seven years, the report said.
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