Thai police have cracked a major online gambling network boasting some 500 websites run by 2,000 employees over a decade.
Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division (CSD) announced on Monday (November 14) that 350 police officers launched simultaneous raids in 63 locations across 14 of Thailand’s 77 provinces, including the Bangkok special administrative area, the Nation newspaper reported.
The CSD confirmed it had made arrests and seized weapons and luxury goods, but it has not released the numbers and locations of detained suspects, nor the network’s cash turnover.
However, it said in a statement that another 23 arrest warrants have been issued for ringleaders, beneficial bank account holders and dummy account applicants, as well as website programmers and go-betweens tasked with ATM transactions.
CSD commander Montree Theskhun said the decade-long online network organised 109 franchises with more than 500 websites and 2,000 employees between them.
He said the latest raids were spawned by a police operation in September that raided locations in ten provinces, arrested 30 suspects and seized 460m baht ($13m) in assets and cash.
The September raid against the “Fat Fast” online gambling syndicate extracted intelligence from suspects that the network was part of a larger operation, he said.
The latest raids uncovered a sophisticated operation that was “systematically established with clear-cut marketing, administration, accountancy, financial management, and website maintenance divisions”, Montree said.
Thailand is one of the more aggressive jurisdictions in enforcing a complete ban on online and land-based casino gambling and sports betting, with reports on raids appearing regularly in the media.
The latest operation is one of the biggest in recent times, and comes as the Thai legislature mulls a proposal to legalise integrated resorts that include land-based casinos.