Police arrested more than 100 Indonesians in Phnom Penh yesterday, accusing them of operating an illegal online football-betting syndicate, senior officials said.
Major General Chhay Sinarith, director of the Ministry of Interior’s security department, said 114 Indonesian nationals were arrested at two separate locations in the capital’s Chamkarmon district after more than a month of investigation.
“Based on their preliminary confessions, this group was involved mainly in online soccer gambling,” Sinarith said.
Police said the group established the illegal gambling network in Cambodia more than a year ago and had since experienced a steady flow of business from those wanting to bet on all the big games – and more.
“We are still investigating whether anyone has committed any other offences,” he said.
The suspects, he said, were being detained at the Department of Immigration, where they would be questioned further. Only 25 of those arrested had passports, he added.
“We do not know yet whether these people will be prosecuted in Cambodia. We are co-ordinating with Indonesian authorities to resolve this matter,” Sinarith said.
Cambodia and Indonesia have no extradition treaty.
Gambling on football games has been forbidden since Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the closure of betting company Cambo Six in February 2009, which had generated as much as $1 million per year in tax revenue for the government.
But football betting continues under a cloak of secrecy in various shops and internet cafés and gamblers bet on matches from around the world, ranging from the English Premier League to more obscure minor leagues.
Indonesian Embassy officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.