27 Influencers Arrested in Malaysia for Promoting Illegal Online Gambling Sites

the arrest of 27 influencers in Malaysia
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In a significant crackdown, Malaysian authorities have arrested 27 social media influencers for allegedly promoting illegal online gambling sites. The apprehended group, consisting of 23 women and four men aged between 21 and 35, were detained on June 13 across various states including Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Johor, Perlis, Kedah, and Penang.

Details of the Arrest

The operation was executed by the Royal Malaysia Police’s Criminal Investigation Department, spearheaded by Mr. Mohd Shuhauly. During a recent press conference, he detailed how these influencers were recruited by gambling syndicates to endorse illegal betting activities on their social media platforms. “Initial investigations revealed that gambling syndicates hired the suspects based on the number of followers they have on social media,” Mr. Shuhauly stated.

He further explained that each influencer was compensated between RM1,500 (US$430) and RM8,000 for their promotional activities, depending on their follower count. “We believe each influencer is active on more than two social media platforms,” he added, emphasizing the widespread reach of their promotional efforts.

The Legal Landscape and Impact

Malaysia, with its population of just under 35 million, has stringent laws against gambling, especially in the context of online and sports betting. While certain forms of gambling like lotteries, casino games, and horse racing are legal, online betting remains strictly prohibited. This legal framework underscores the severity of the influencers’ actions and the authorities’ response.

Ongoing Investigations and Seizures

As part of the ongoing investigation, 30 mobile phones were confiscated. The authorities are diligently working to trace the masterminds behind the gambling syndicates. Mr. Shuhauly confirmed that the influencers are being investigated under the Open Gaming House Act and Section 233 of the Malaysia Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Act.

Interestingly, it was found that these influencers were not only promoting illegal gambling but were also involved in selling cosmetics and other products, indicating a diversified yet illegal income stream.

Additional Arrests Linked to Prostitution and Unlicensed Products

In a related case, authorities arrested four women and a man for allegedly promoting prostitution, pornography, and unlicensed sexual stimulants. This group was led by a 27-year-old local woman known as ‘Miza Ozawa’, who has a prior criminal record for assaulting her mother.

Mr. Shuhauly explained that Ozawa, along with a 26-year-old Indonesian woman and a 20-year-old Indonesian man, were actors in the sexually explicit videos sold online. Two other Malaysian nationals were suspected of producing this content. This case highlights the complex web of illegal activities beyond just gambling, showing a broader crackdown on various forms of online crime.

Broader Implications

The arrests mark a significant move by Malaysian authorities to clamp down on illegal online activities. The involvement of social media influencers in such illicit operations reflects a concerning trend where the reach and influence of these individuals are exploited for illegal purposes. This incident serves as a warning to other influencers about the legal repercussions of engaging in unlawful promotions.

Moreover, the case underscores the importance of digital vigilance and the need for stricter regulations and monitoring of online content. As social media continues to grow, the potential for misuse also increases, necessitating a proactive approach from both authorities and platform providers to curb illegal activities.

Conclusion

The arrest of these 27 influencers in Malaysia for promoting illegal online gambling sites and other related activities is a testament to the country’s robust legal framework and the authorities’ commitment to enforcing it. As investigations continue, the broader message is clear: engaging in illegal online promotions, regardless of one’s social media influence, will attract severe consequences. This crackdown not only aims to dismantle the existing illegal operations but also serves as a deterrent for others considering similar activities.