Thailand and Cambodia have been subject to major crackdowns of anti-gambling activity in recent weeks, with police making arrests in both areas. Over 550 illegal immigrants were detained in Cambodia while 40 were arrested in Thailand. The arrests were a result of an operation involving several agencies and were connected to raids on illegal Philippines Offshore Gaming Operations.
Crackdown in Thailand
In Thailand, over 40 suspects were detained for allegedly being involved with illegal gambling operations. The services were turning over around two million baht daily. The group was operating three online casino gaming sites that were open for three years. Over 50,000 gamblers accessed the sites.
The Crime Suppression Division was part of the raid and seized over 460 million baht in assets and cash during the takedowns. A total of 52 locations were hit in 10 separate provinces. Supposedly, the operations were connected to a major network that was located in Khon Kaen.
The websites provided by the illegal operators gave players access to various types of gambling. Anyone using the service had to transfer funds to the bank accounts of the gang and these accounts were connected to the gambling sites.
Money was transferred and then withdrawn and transferred to another account to try and hide the money trail. Items seized in the Thailand raid include cash, bank books, ATM cards, and cell phones.
Cambodia Saw Far More Arrests
While around 40 people were arrested in Thailand, police took in over 550 individuals in Cambodia. The Cambodian Prime Minister called for a crackdown on illegal gambling operations, especially after an increase in kidnappings and human trafficking was seen connected to casinos.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to do everything he can to ensure that illegal gambling is shut down and anyone taking part is brought to justice. While the action is applauded, it may be too late to do any good. For many years, Cambodia has been hit with illegal gambling activity, so much so that other countries, such as the United States, do not want to be tied to the gambling industry in the region.
Most of the individuals arrested were Chinese nationals. A smaller group came from Vietnam and Malaysia. Arrests took place in Phnom Penh in Kandal as well as Sihanoukville. Of 414 people arrested on Sunday, over 160 were working without proper documentation and authorization.
It will be interesting to see if further action is taken in the future to ensure that illegal gambling activity continues to be eradicated in these regions of the Asia.