Bookie Chen Ying-chu (陳盈助) was released on bail yesterday after authorities earlier this week conducted searches and shut down illegal betting sites.
Chen posted bail of NT$150 million (US$5.28 million) with restrictions placed on his movement.
About 60 people were questioned on Tuesday amid a probe into alleged illegal online betting and other offenses linked to gambling platforms.
Photo: Ting Wei-chieh, Taipei Times
Chiayi County Chief Prosecutor Tsai Ying-chu (蔡英俊) said that his office coordinated with Kaohsiung prosecutors, and more than 600 police officers and judicial investigators to conduct searches at the offices of Chen’s Ying Sheng International Co (營勝國際) and other locations mainly in Chiayi City, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Taipei.
Chen and other suspects face charges of illegal gambling linked to the betting sites and possibly money laundering, Tsai said.
Authorities seized computers, mobile phones, bank account records, ledgers and other documents, as well as about NT$70 million in cash, Tsai said.
Kaohsiung prosecutors said that searches were carried out at an office building in the city on Tuesday evening that is believed to be the headquarters from which the gambling sites were run.
Networking systems, and 10 computers with betting and gaming software were seized, while more than 30 people — allegedly programmers and computer engineers working for Chen — were detained, Kaohsiung prosecutors said.
Ying Sheng has run several gambling sites for many years, offering sports betting, lotteries and other games.
Investigators have found that Chen has established legitimate casino and other gambling operations in Macau and the Philippines, Tsai said.
However, his overseas businesses have been affected amid the COVID-19 pandemic and face closure, Tsai said, adding that most of his Taiwanese staff have returned.
Young people who worked at his overseas operations helped to expand the online betting business in Taiwan after their return, Tsai said.
They set up new sites to attract Taiwanese, which prompted authorities to last year begin surveillance of them, he said.
Chen was indicted in 1999 over an alleged illegal sports betting operation involving Taiwanese baseball and in 2006 was embroiled in a NT$8.6 billion international money laundering case, but was acquitted in both cases due to insufficient evidence.
In the past few years, Chen launched a charity organization for community welfare work.
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