KUALA LUMPUR - An illegal gambling syndicate collected RM105 million (S$40 million) in bets on World Cup matches - RM7.5million a day - since the football tournament started before police finally moved in on them.
The syndicate's activities were exposed after police arrested four members, including a woman, aged between 20 and 41 during a raid on Kompleks Metro Pudu here at about 4.30pm on Wednesday.
Bukit Aman CID deputy director Deputy Comm Datuk Mazlan Mansor said bookkeeping records seized at the premises showed that the group had collected RM7.5million in bets daily since the tournament kicked off on June 12.
"That's about RM105mil, making it one of the biggest World Cup betting busts so far," he said during a press conference at Bukit Aman here yesterday.
He said the syndicate had some 1,500 agents who collected bets of about RM5,000 each day.
Along with the arrests, police also seized three laptops, two iPads and various notebooks and ledgers with betting details.
"This raid was the result of four weeks of intelligence work involving various departments within the police, including the cyber crimes unit and forensic," DCP Mazlan said.
"Most of those arrested have steady jobs but they do this as a side income every time a major football tournament rolls around," he said, adding that they were tracking down other syndicate members still at large.
In a separate raid under the ongoing Ops Soga, police seized 12 servers which were hosting an illegal football betting website from an office in Changkat Raja Chulan here on Wednesday.
DCP Mazlan said the servers worth about RM20,000 each were found to be used to collect bets from all over the Asia-Pacific region, including Hong Kong.
"The owners of the servers had unknowingly rented them to a syndicate which was running the website under a local IP (Internet Protocol) address," he said.
"We are tracing the usernames of those who visited and placed bets on this website."
Under Ops Soga so far, 194 people, including four women, have been arrested in 154 raids.
"Along with hardware like laptops and mobile phones, we have also seized RM176,670 in cash," he said.
Police are stepping up the crackdown on illegal betting as the World Cup enters the knockout phase, which usually means more frenzied betting.
"We estimate that roughly RM15million worth of bets are placed every day nationwide throughout the tournament," said DCP Mazlan.