Wed, Apr 17, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Police detain 43 allegedly linked to online gambling

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Police have conducted raids in the Taichung area and detained 43 people for allegedly operating online gambling sites that handled more than NT$100 million (US$3.2 million) in wagers per month.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau yesterday detailed its crackdown on the criminal ring, allegedly led by a 42-year-old businessman surnamed Wang (王), which it said set up i88x.net, 36588.tw and other Web sites and registered them as information technology companies.

The sites offer betting on professional baseball in Taiwan, Japan and the US, as well as international soccer, basketball, tennis and motorsports, CIB Ninth Investigation Corps Second Investigation Unit Captain Chen Chieh-chang (陳詰昌) said.

Cash totaling about NT$2.89 million and 100,000 yuan was seized during the raids at 15 locations, as were 73 computers, 63 mobile phones, 10 servers, accounting ledgers and customer wagering records, he said.

“We have evidence that Wang is the main financial backer for the illegal gambling business. He got a friend, a man surnamed Hsiao (蕭), to register several information technology start-ups last year, but these were shell entities to cover the operations of the online gambling sites,” Chen said.

An examination of the seized materials and computer records by CIB investigators found that Wang and Hsiao placed the main servers in Hong Kong, the Philippines and other countries to evade detection and tracking by Taiwanese authorities, he said.

“Their gambling business operates like a Ponzi scheme, with people who have signed up and made wagers encouraged to recruit their friends as new members, which could earn them larger monthly bonus payouts at higher levels,” Chen said.

“They allow customers to accumulate their winnings each week and then wire the money to a bank account or have it sent through a third-party online payment channel,” he said.

“This, in addition to having the servers overseas, made it difficult for investigators to uncover the entire scope of their operations,” he added.

The 43 people detained would face illegal gambling charges after questioning by Taichung prosecutors, Chen said.

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