Malaysian police arrest 247 members of Chinese gambling ring

4 October 2019

Malaysian police have arrested 247 people since 25 September in connection with illegal China-facing online gambling operations that authorities say took in RM24.8 (£4.8m/€5.4m/$5.9m) per month, seizing RM 3.12bn worth of assets.

The move is the latest in a series of crackdowns across Southeast Asia against online gambling operations that target Chinese customers.

On 23 September, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security announced that joint efforts from police in China and Cambodia to combat illegal online gambling in both countries have led to the arrest of almost 1,000 people so far this year.

On 19 September, Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III ordered the country’s Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to shut down the operations of Philippines Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) that fail or refuse to pay income tax.

Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said the current syndicate was another example of an operation based offshore to evade Chinese authorities.

“The actions of the syndicate from China to carry out their activities in Kuala Lumpur are to prevent Chinese authorities from tracking down their activities,” he said. "But based on public information and police intelligence, we were able to track their position despite operating from a luxury condominium equipped with a strict security system."

Lazim said that the website was marketed via WeChat, the most popular app in China.