Thailand Arrests 14,300 Gamblers During World Cup

Thailand Arrests 14,300 Gamblers During World Cup

The Thai police have had their hands full since the beginning of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, as more than 14,300 people (tourists and locals) were apprehended on gambling charges, a police general reveals. He also confirmed that most of the arrestees come from Bangkok and other surrounding territories. Gambling is prohibited in Thailand and due to the lack of legal land-based casinos in the country, many people venture into illegal forms of betting which still exists in the capital and some provincial towns. Nevertheless, betting on horses or the government-sponsored Thai lottery is not prohibited.

A similar police operation took place in July 2016, when over 4,000 illegal bettors were imprisoned in both Europe and Asia during Euro 2016 in France. The undercover collaboration included Interpol agencies from China, France, Greece, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Now known as SOGA VI, the Interpol’s covert mission targeted numerous illegal gambling dens that handled almost $649 million in bets.

According to the official statement of Deputy Police Commissioner Pol. Gen. Chalermkiat Srivorakhan, around 534 individuals are suspected to have been performing illegal gambling activities. With that said, people who engage in unlawful betting businesses can also face serious criminal charges and even greater financial penalties. So far, the Thai police have seized approximately THB45 million in cash and various bank accounts from suspected gamblers.

Despite the country’s restrictions on sports wagering and other forms of betting, statistics have shown that almost 70% of the country’s population is gambling actively, largely via illegal channels. What is more, the department for combating fraud on the Internet has shut down more than 211 illegal betting websites that have actively offered betting services during the World Cup matches.

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