With less than a month to go before the football World Cup begins in Brazil, the police have cracked down on illegal betting.
A football betting syndicate has been "crippled", with 18 people arrested and about $1.4 million seized, police said last night. This was the result of an islandwide operation that began on Sunday.
Preliminary investigations show that the suspects may have received illegal football bets of as much as $8 million in the past two weeks alone.
Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) carried out multiple raids at locations in Bukit Panjang, Marsiling, Ang Mo Kio, Woodlands, Whampoa, Telok Blangah, Bedok and Sentosa.
The 16 men and two women who were nabbed are aged between 30 and 65.
In addition to the money, officers seized computers, mobile phones and documents such as betting records and bank transaction records.
The head of the Specialised Crime Branch of CID, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police Kenny Tan, said: "Bookmakers and bettors who assume that they can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to commit criminal offences should think twice."
The police will find them and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, he said.
"We... advise members of the public to steer clear of illegal betting websites."
Under the Betting Act, anyone who bets with a bookmaker can be fined up to $5,000 and jailed up to six months. For bookies, this can go up to $200,000 and five years.
This article was published on May 20 in The New Paper.
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