A number of social media influencers have been arrested in Hong Kong for allegedly promoting offshore online gambling platforms accepting FIFA World Cup wagers. Police arrested a total of seven people over the past week, including Hong Kong actress Bui Yee-lam.
Police do not believe that those arrested directly know each other
Crime squad officers raided the actress’ residence on Sunday. Police do not believe that those arrested directly know each other but they are investigating whether the same group of criminals hired all of the promoters.
Each of the suspects is out of custody on bail and will need to report back to the authorities in the middle of December.
Money for posts
According to the South China Morning Post, all of the people arrested are women aged between 20 and 30 years old. Some of them allegedly promoted illegal online gambling platforms through their own social media accounts.
One of the women in custody was also arrested for the “possession of Part 1 poisons.” Police found 76 electronic cigarettes containing nicotine during their searches. They also seized a laptop, computer tablet, and seven mobile devices.
criminals offered monetary rewards to lure them into promoting illegal gambling”
New Territories South regional crime unit chief inspector Chan Ka-ying explained why content creators can get embroiled in the world of illegal betiing. “We believe that because of their online influence, criminals offered monetary rewards to lure them into promoting illegal gambling websites,” Chan said.
Most forms of gambling are banned in Hong Kong, with strict penalties in place for those who facilitate or take part. Anyone who is a part of an illegal bookmaking operation faces a fine of up to HK$5m (US$639,710) and up to seven years in prison. People caught placing wagers through an illegal sportsbook can get up to nine months in prison, as well as a fine worth HK$50,000 (US$6,397).
Hong Kong authorities have been keeping an eye out for anyone promoting illegal gambling platforms amid the ongoing World Cup. In the case of the seven offenders, the platforms were mainly catering to the World Cup and horse racing betting, with one of the sites based in the Philippines. They also offered casino games like blackjack and baccarat.