Major Crackdown in Thailand: Hundreds Arrested and Millions Seized in Euro 2024 Betting Bust

major crackdown in Thailand
Share on Social

Thai officials arrested 64 suspects and seized over 280 million baht (US$7.6 million) in an ongoing crackdown on illegal online betting on Euro 2024 football (soccer), government authorities revealed on Friday. The extensive enforcement targeted two major websites, wm88 and x-stand, among other operations, according to khaosodenglish.com.

Major Betting Operations Uncovered

The two sports betting websites, wm88 and x-stand, reportedly generated revenue of 1.4 billion baht (US$38.1 million) between January and June, according to government estimates. The significant income from these illegal activities prompted a robust response from Thai authorities.

During a raid on a residence in Thong Lor, Bangkok, police seized 13,830,000 baht (US$376,460) along with $3,200 in US currency. Additionally, luxury vehicles including a Bentley, a Mercedes-Benz, and a GWM Tank SUV were confiscated, along with several residences. The total value of these assets was reported to be 22,580,000 baht (US$614,672).

Key Arrests

Among those arrested were Xiang Zhang, 42, and Zhang Huiqing, 37, both Chinese nationals. The couple claimed that their resources stemmed from the sale of a Chinese advertising firm and investments in cryptocurrency, rather than gambling proceeds.

Another significant raid occurred at a condo in the Phrom Phong neighborhood of Bangkok, where assets worth 287,396,713 baht (US$7,823,513) were seized. Jun Xia, 36, a Chinese national, and four Thai nationals were charged following the Phrom Phong raid.

The charges against these key suspects include illegal electronic gambling and money laundering. Authorities indicate that further arrests are possible as the investigation continues.

Recent Arrests and Ongoing Operations

These latest arrests follow earlier charges between June 14 and Thursday. Out of 248 suspects arrested, 28 were organizers of the illegal online activity, while the remaining 220 were gamblers. Authorities also shut down 62 illegal sports betting websites, which collectively handled 1,400,150,007 baht (US$38 million) in wagers.

In addition to online activities, illegal gambling was discovered in various brick-and-mortar gaming dens, leading to the arrest of 1,578 suspects. Of these, 1,503 were players, 65 were bookies, and 10 were runners.

The sports betting cases were investigated by the Technology Crime Suppression Division and the Technology Crime Investigation Bureau.

Legal Consequences

Officials warned that gambling is illegal in Thailand, and those arrested will be prosecuted. This includes not only the organizers and promoters but also the gamblers themselves. If found guilty, defendants face up to two years in prison and may be subject to fines. Additional penalties can be imposed if minors were involved in the gambling activities.

Conclusion

The recent raids in Thailand highlight the country’s rigorous efforts to combat illegal gambling activities. With significant assets seized and numerous suspects arrested, Thai authorities are sending a clear message about their commitment to upholding the law and ensuring public safety. As the crackdown continues, further developments and arrests are expected in this high-stakes battle against illegal gambling.