Police in Taichung bust 18 over online gambling operation

BOOKIES: The suspects, some of whom were computer engineers, had established a fake law firm where customers could send their money

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Oct 10, 2007 - Page 2

Police in Taichung yesterday arrested 18 people on suspicion of running illegal sports betting over the Internet, taking advantage of the popularity of New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) to earn several million US dollars.

Officers from the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) broke up the gambling ring yesterday, arresting main suspect Huang Chu-ming (黃主銘) and 17 other people in the process.

Some of the suspects were computer engineers who maintained the online gambling Web sites for Huang.

Police said the group set up several Web sites as part of the business and had received NT$100 million (US$3 million) on average in bets each month.

They added that Huang and the other suspects had established a fake law firm in Taichung, that was actually the office of the illegal gambling group.

Police said the suspects asked gamblers to return bets using the name of the law firm.

The CIB said in a press statement yesterday that online sports betting has become rampant in Taiwan since Wang became a star.

Police said that Huang had told them the group had made good profits recently as most Taiwanese gamblers had bet in favor of Wang and the Yankees, but Wang and his team had lost in the playoffs.

Police said they seized a number of computers that were used to run the online gambling Web sites.

The CIB said that ever since sports bookies set up their servers outside the country, cracking down on online gambling had been difficult, but the bureau would continue to clamp down on domestic activity.