25 Chinese Arrested in Illegal Online Gambling Bust

Following an investigation by police in Kuala Lumpur into an illegal online gambling ring, 25 Chinese nationals have been identified and brought into custody. The raid on the illegal gambling syndicate is one of many taking place across the Ampang region, as authorities crack down on unlicensed gambling platforms operating in the region.

Cybercrime in Malaysia.

There has been a dramatic increase in the presence of Chinese nationals in neighboring countries, all with the intent of running illegal gambling operations targeting their own citizens. ©geralt/Pixabay

There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of illegal gambling activity targeting Chinese customers, with the majority of vendors located in offshore locations. But as it turns out in many cases including this one, the operations located offshore targeting the rich Chinese, are usually themselves run by Chinese hustlers.

In these unprecedented times, there has been a global surge in online gambling demand with the majority of countries finding huge increases in the revenues splashed at online casinos. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, punters across the world are being asked to stay away from popular venues.

The online casinos being hosted out of Kuala Lumpur are unlicensed, unregulated, and operating without concern for the law. Acting on a tip-off, local police forces accompanied by the Bukit Aman Anti-Vice, Gambling, and Secret Societies Division and led by Senior Assistant Cmdr. Mohd Zani Che Din conducted a raid in the suburbs district of Ukay Heights around midday on Wednesday 22nd April.

A Small But Sophisticated Operation

Whilst this was only a small operation, the extent of the damage being caused was enough for Chinese authorities to launch their own investigations and provide the tipoff to the Malaysian authorities. Following directives from the Xi Jinping administration, Chinese forensic and cybercrime units have been especially determined to track and shutdown similar gambling operations that target the Chinese citizens.

The operation involved a mixture of 20 men and 5 women, and according to local police, the syndicate had been operating unchecked for around 3 months prior to their arrest. Whether it will serve as a warning shot to all similar groups conducting similar business in the area remains to be seen.

According to local law enforcement, the arrested group had considerable technological capability and had invested a lot of money into hardware and other measures to ensure the integrity of their OPSEC. A local police commander said,

We seized 19 laptops, 74 mobile phones, five routers and a desktop computer. They promote their games via WeChat and text messages. Among the games offered were Lucky Draw Canada 28 and Beijing 28. Their customers would play the game by scanning QR codes.Commander Datuk Huzir Mohamed, Bukit Aman CID Director

The individuals were believed to originate from the Jianxi and Guizhou provinces in China, and had been staying in Malaysia for a couple of weeks prior to the established gambling operation they were running. In terms of the financial capabilities of the scheme, the group was estimated to be grossing around $30,000 every day, which would mean over the course of their operation around $3 million would have been earned.

Police in the local vicinity of Kuala Lumpur is acutely aware of similar operations run by Chinese nationals and are working with Chinese law enforcement to help bring down these damaging schemes. The Malaysian authorities have been particularly accommodating to Beijing’s request, not similar to the outright refusal of Duterte to shutdown unlicensed gambling operations within the Philippines.

There has been a sharp increase in the presence of illegal offshore gambling operations targeting Chinese citizens since government-enforced lockdowns have locked off the land-based casino industry, punters are flocking to online alternatives to seek out new gambling opportunities.

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