uring the last competition in 2006, Hong Kong police arrested 342 people in relation to illegal bookmaking and seized over us$ 20 million worth of illegal bets. Although gambling is a popular activity in Hong Kong, it is strictly controlled. Betting is only allowed through the official Hong Kong Jockey Club or the weekly government-run lottery.
The government has pumped an additional us$ 2 million to promote anti-gambling messages, and the police have formed a special task force to crack down on the problem. Experts are focusing on cyber-gambling, which has become more prevalent over recent years.
Police will conduct cyber patrols to identify illegal online bookies. "We have contacted the service providers of the website companies, in order to get some insight or intelligence regarding illegal gambling information," said Superintendent Man Tat-shing of the Hong Kong Organised Crime and Triad Bureau.
Police are also co-coordinating with banks to report any suspicious transactions. "Some illegal websites overseas may accept credit card payment or bank remittancy. All of these information, we'll look into once the relevant financial institutions report it to us," said Superintendent Man. Those caught engaging in illegal soccer gambling in Hong Kong can face up to 9 months in jail.