Police have busted an online gambling syndicate with the arrest of 16 Indonesians, including five women in George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
The arrests were made during raids in four premises, believed to be used as the syndicate’s call centres in the Southwest district, at between 10pm on Friday and 12pm on Saturday.
State police chief Datuk T. Narenasagaran said those arrested, aged between 19 and 47, were believed to be operators and assistant operators of the call centres, who worked on 12-hour shifts daily.
According to him, one of those arrested was believed to be the mastermind of the syndicate. The premises have been in operation for between three months and a year, he added.
Narenasagaran said an initial investigation revealed that the syndicate targetted customers in Indonesia. This, he said, was based on the inflow and outflow of money using Indonesian bank accounts, namely BNI, BRI and BCA.
“From our investigation, a website was specially created to facilitate the gambling activities, using software bought from Cambodian syndicates.
“The call centres also aided in the promotion of online gambling activities through random messages sent via the WeChat and WhatsApp applications to customers in Indonesia.
“The syndicate takes in bets for all kinds of online gambling activities such as poker, international league football matches as well as local and international 4D lottery. The minimum bet is about 1,000 Rupiah (29 sen) while the maximum bet is 20 million Rupiah.
“Each premises is able to rake in between RM15,000 and RM60,000 in profit daily,” he told newsmen at the state police contingent headquarters here today.
Following the raids, police seized 26 desktops, 29 mobile phones of various models, 27 online banking device tokens and a laptop.
Narenasagaran said the syndicate operated from the confines of condominiums, with tight security, to prevent detection from the authorities.
“We believe the Indonesians, who were brought in to work in the call centres, are fully aware of what they are doing. Nevertheless, we will investigate further,” he added.