In a significant breakthrough, police forces from Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau have successfully dismantled an illegal bookmaking syndicate, leading to the arrest of 93 suspects. The Macau Judiciary Police revealed that the syndicate, which has been operational since 2016, facilitated illegal betting activities involving amounts of at least MOP$1.08 billion (US$134 million).

50 suspects, including two ringleaders and nine key operatives, were apprehended in Macau. All of these individuals are residents of Macau. In a coordinated effort, Mainland police detained 42 suspects on the mainland, while Hong Kong authorities arrested one individual.

This syndicate was scrutinized following an investigation into a 2022 money laundering case. Authorities discovered that the group had been running online gambling operations for several years, with members scattered across Macau, Hong Kong, and Guangdong, according to Inside Asian Gaming.

Through a collaborative investigative mechanism, police determined that the syndicate’s web server was hosted overseas. The server facilitated bets primarily on football and basketball games, including the ongoing Euro 2024 championships in Germany. The syndicate enticed customers by offering attractive odds and round-the-clock online customer support.

According to the police, during the Euro 2024, the syndicate amassed more than MOP$72 million in illegal bets each week. Since its inception in 2016, the total betting amount processed by the syndicate is estimated to be MOP$1.08 billion.

Major Police Operation

When the operation was launched on June 29, over 200 police officers were mobilized to arrest 50 suspects in various residential locations across Macau. The operation resulted in the seizure of more than MOP$8 million (US$994,000) in cash, 103 mobile phones, 26 computers, and other crucial evidence.

When interrogated, the suspects disclosed their occupations as taxi drivers, salesmen, businessmen, and gaming operators. Notably, four suspects are currently serving prison sentences but were found to be controlling the syndicate remotely. Among those arrested, a 29-year-old customs officer is now under an internal disciplinary investigation by Macau Customs and has been suspended from duty as a precaution.

In mainland China, police arrested 42 individuals, confiscating about RMB80 million (US$11 million) in cash and freezing over 90 bank accounts. Meanwhile, Hong Kong police apprehended a suspect who facilitated the syndicate in handling approximately HK$8 million bets between June 2023 and March 2024.

During the investigation, it was also uncovered that four suspects had established an illegal casino in Macau, masquerading as a café. This establishment offered games like Texas Hold’em poker and other betting services.

At a press conference, Deputy Director of the Macau Judiciary Police, Sou Sio Keong, emphasized the ongoing nature of the investigation. Authorities from all three regions are committed to continuing their efforts to uncover additional details and pursue any remaining fugitives involved in this extensive illegal operation.