Hong Kong police bust huge Wo Shing Wo betting operation, US$1 million cash seized
Police in Hong Kong have dismantled a triad-controlled gambling ring and seized the largest number of illegal betting records.
According to South China Morning Post, documents from police show the triad bookies handled more than US$438 million in illegal bets on horse racing and soccer games in the first four months of 2021. The police believe that the ring had only been in operation for around a year.
Following an investigation that lasted several months, police said 18 people had been arrested during raids across Kowloon and Hong Kong’s New Territories on Sunday. These included the alleged ringleader, his wife, and three other high-ranking triad figures. Police said the operation was linked to the Wo Shing Wo triad.
The proceeds were laundered through accounts controlled by relatives of key members of the syndicate, Chief Inspector Hui Hong-kit of the organized crime bureau said Monday.
The gang recruited customers who placed bets via phone and text message. They charged a 0.5 commission on all bets.
All transactions between the book and its customers were made in cash, Hui said. Some individual bets amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars, he added.
Officers seized luxury cars during the raids and more than HK$8.5 million from the apartments of the alleged ringleader and his core associates. During the investigation, authorities froze 70 bank accounts collectively containing around US$2.5 million.
Hong Kong authorities have stepped up enforcement efforts against illegal betting since the start of the Euro 2020 soccer championships, so far arresting 168 people.
Editing by Rachel Hu