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18 July 2012

Arrests across Asia in INTERPOL-led operation targeting illegal soccer gambling networks

LYON, France – Nearly 300 people have been arrested in an INTERPOL coordinated operation run ahead of and throughout the EURO 2012 championships targeting illegal soccer gambling networks across Asia.

During the two-month long operation, law enforcement officers across China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam carried out more than 200 raids on illegal  gambling dens, estimated to have handled around USD 85 million worth of bets.

Conducted between 1 May and 1 July, Operation SOGA IV – short for soccer gambling – was the fourth action of its type coordinated by INTERPOL and was timed to coincide with the end of major national football leagues across Europe, and the UEFA championships in addition to EURO 2012.

“This latest SOGA operation has again underlined the results which can be achieved through national and international police cooperation in breaking up illegal gambling dens and the criminal networks behind them,” said Crusade Yau, Head of the Organized Crime Branch with INTERPOL’s Drugs and Criminal Organizations unit which coordinated the operation.

SOGA IV brought together officers from INTERPOL National Central Bureaus and other law enforcement agencies in the participating countries in a series of meetings, including the INTERPOL Asia Pacific Expert Group on Organized crime and operational training workshops.

In total, the combined four SOGA operations have resulted in more than 7,000 arrests, the closure of illegal gambling dens which handled more than USD 2 billion worth of bets and the seizure of nearly USD 27 million in cash.