SINGAPORE: Nearly 1,400 people across Asia and Europe have been arrested in an Interpol-led operation targeting illegal football gambling during the Euro 2020 tournament held earlier this year.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF), which participated in the operation, said in a press release on Saturday (Sep 18) that the people arrested were allegedly involved in illegal gambling syndicates that handled about US$465 million worth of bets.
As part of Operation SOGA VIII, SPF conducted a series of local enforcement operations between Jun 11 and Jul 31, leading to the arrest of 72 people.
More than S$800,000 in cash as well as computers, laptops, mobile phones and other items were seized during the operations, said SPF.
Investigations against all 72 persons are ongoing.
“The series of operations conducted by the Singapore Police Force in collaboration with Interpol reinforces the police’s determination to stamp out transnational syndicates involved in unlawful remote gambling activities,” said Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police How Kwang Hwee, director of SPF’s Criminal Investigation Department.
“The SPF will continue to work with Interpol and foreign law enforcement agencies to take tough enforcement action against those who engage in illicit activities with blatant disregard for the law.”
Anyone convicted of participating in unlawful remote gambling faces up to six months’ jail, a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.
Those convicted of providing unlawful remote gambling services for another may be jailed for up to five years, fined between S$20,000 and S$200,000, or both.
In a separate release, Interpol said: “While most of us were watching the UEFA European Football Championship as simple fans, hundreds of specialised officers across 28 countries were targeting organised crime groups looking to earn millions from illegal gambling and related money laundering activities.”
The global crime agency added that officers observed increased activity in online gaming platforms, forums and social media, where individuals would offer gambling tips or even payment to those willing to open online bank accounts for money transfers.
Source: Channel News Asia