KUALA LUMPUR: Outside Malaysia’s only casino resort in the Genting Highlands, gambling is illegal, but that did little to dissuade Malaysians from betting, in the millions of dollars, on Euro 2012 matches.
Malaysia’s police reported on Thursday that they had arrested some 100 people involved in what they believe was a nationwide crime syndicate that bet millions on the football matches last month.
The country’s top crime investigator Bakri Zinin was reported by local media as saying that police conducted over 100 raids across the country in the past two months, in collaboration with Chinese and Singaporean officials to crackdown on illegal betting.
He said the arrested suspects come from some five different crime syndicates and were involved in betting of more than RM49 million (US$16 million) on European Football Championship matches.
Among those arrested were two from Singapore and two from Indonesia, reports the New Straits Times and The Star.
Sports betting is illegal and those arrested, if charged and convicted, could face stiff jail terms.
“Sharing of information is the key to nabbing these syndicates, and FIFA is monitoring our operations against these bookies,” said Bakri, adding that football’s ruling body FIFA was monitoring Malaysia’s operations against the suspects.