Cracking down on illegal gambling sites, the Taiwan police raided locations in capital Taipei’s Taichung area. The police have detained 43 people whom they suspect were associated with an illegal online gambling ring.
The police allege that these suspects were involved in operating illegal online gambling sites which have wagers to the tune of NT$100 million (US$3.2 million) per month.
The CIB (Criminal Investigation Bureau) issued the details of the raid on Tuesday and said that one Mr. Wang, a 42-year-old businessman had been running gambling operations through a nexus of multiple online gambling sites of which the two prominent ones are i88x.net, 36588.tw.
In his statement to the press, CIB Ninth Investigation Corps Second Investigation Unit Captain Chen Chieh-chang said that the two sites registered as information technology companies offering sports betting on pro baseball events in Taiwan, Japan, and the US. It also had multiple different games including soccer, basketball, tennis, and motorsports.
Talking about the raids, Captain Chen said, “We have seized NT$2.89 million and 100,000 yuan in cash raiding 15 different locations. In addition, we have also got hold of 73 computers, 63 mobile phones, 10 servers, accounting ledgers, and customer wagering records.”
“We have evidence that Wang is the main financial backer for the illegal gambling business. He got a friend, a man surnamed Hsiao, to register several information technology start-ups last year, but these were shell entities to cover the operations of the online gambling sites,” he added.
It was also found that the illegal online gambling ring had their servers in different locations including Hong Kong, the Philippines, and other European countries. The servers were strategically located to make it difficult for the authorities to track their operations.
“Their gambling business operates as 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,” explained Chen.
“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. This, in addition to having the servers overseas, made it difficult for investigators to uncover the entire scope of their operations.”