Singapore is not the only Asian country cracking down on illegal sports betting with police raids. Thailand arrested over 3,000 people who were involved with wagering on the World Cup or helping Thai citizens place their bets.
The World Cup has been on for four days. Thailand police are showing how serious they are about keeping their people safe from gambling addiction and other issues with gambling by making arrests. The sheer amount of arrests, 3,000 people, were made over the last four days.
Chalermkiat Srivorakhan, the deputy national police chief, spoke on Monday, June 18, 2018 stating there are 250 of the 3,000 people who are gamblers and illegal bookmakers just in the Bangkok region. The level of gambling activity is higher than the last world cup in 2014, according to the police. The authorities believe it is the access via mobile phones and devices that are making it easier for people to illegally gambling. There are thousands of online football betting websites that are promoting their wagering systems to Thai bettors despite it being illegal. Only 100 of the sites are hosted in Thailand, which makes it difficult to stop the websites.
The Metropolitan Police Bureau deputy commissioner, Phanurat Lakboon, stated that the police have limited options when they try to stop online betting. It is due to the licensed sites in places like Cambodia. It is not possible to tell Cambodia to shut down the sites because gambling is legal in the nearby country.
Phanurat stated Cambodian site operators will hire Thai citizens to open bank accounts in Thailand. The bank accounts then fund the betting activity. Police are only able to get to the low-level individuals, who are easily replaced.
Thailand has an anti-money laundering office, which is teaming up with over 36 banks and financial institutions who are looking for suspicious activity during the World Cup. Police also stated that over 300 betting sites are on a list that the local internet service providers are working to block.
Police Raids at Temples
Europol helps with a cyber-extortion gang in Thailand that is part of the wagering raids. The extortion game was a part of a larger situation than just sports betting, but it is the temple raids that might have you surprised and shocked.
Monks at temples were arrested for illegal financial dealings. Monks using temples would accept wagers and conducted other financial dealings that are not legal under Thai law.