October 13, 2023 3 min read


Thousands Arrested as Malaysia Cracks Down on Illegal Gambling

The two-week operation resulted in the arrest of nearly 2,000 individuals, dealing a significant blow to the country’s illegal gambling sector

A comprehensive effort aimed at curbing illegal online gambling and lottery activities saw Malaysian authorities arrest 1,871 individuals. The operation, known as Special Op Dadu, spanned two weeks, with nationwide raids executed between 22 September and 5 October. The crackdown highlighted the government’s rising vigilance against illegal gambling as it tries to safeguard regulated operators.

Decisive Action Netted Impressive Success

Malaysia’s Special Op Dadu operation, coordinated by Shuhaily Zainthe, director of the Criminal Investigations Department at Bukit Aman headquarters, focused on eliminating illegal online gambling and lottery betting. During a press conference, Zain provided insight into the operation’s outcomes, detailing the significant progress made during these two weeks.

A total of 1,871 individuals were apprehended as part of the operation, comprising 1,599 men and 312 women. The arrested individuals ranged in age from 20 to 60 years old. Among those arrested, several were allegedly involved in public lotteries and purchasing lottery tickets. Authorities have already brought many perpetrators to court, and investigations are still ongoing.

As of 5 October, a total of 382 investigation papers involving online gambling and illegal lottery were solved and charged in court.

Shuhaily Zainthe, Bukit Aman headquarters criminal Investigations Department director

Throughout the operation, Malaysian authorities conducted numerous raids that culminated in the seizure of various assets used for illegal gambling activities. The items confiscated included cash, computer equipment, and mobile phones. The total estimated value of the seized assets amounted to RM 13,000 (approximately $2750) for online gambling and RM 680,000 ($143,808) for illegal lottery activities.

A Safe and Regulated Market Has Significant Benefits

Although 1,362 additional cases related to these activities remain open, 43 investigation papers resulted in “no further action.” The operation nevertheless marks a significant milestone in the Malaysian government’s efforts to curb illegal gambling in the country, which has become an endemic issue. While 2022 had multiple minor arrests, Special Op Dadu’s scale sets a new precedent.

This crackdown should have significant implications for Malaysia’s gambling sector, giving licensed operators increased confidence to conduct business. The region has enjoyed a quick post-COVID recovery, focusing on attracting foreign tourists with high-profile integrated resorts like Genting Malaysia. While black market gambling primarily affects locals, effective regulation enforcement remains paramount for investor confidence.

Special Op Dadu likely represents the first significant step in a broader plan to remedy Malaysia’s gambling sector. Cooperation with law enforcement remains paramount in upholding the law and protecting citizens from illicit gambling operations. While the country’s illegal market remains deeply entrenched, ongoing efforts have demonstrated that progress is possible.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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