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HK, Guangzhou Hit Illegal Soccer Betting

The Guangdong province is joining hands with Hong Kong police in cracking down on illegal soccer betting during the month-long World Cup, which began on May 31.

The two raided several cross-border underground gambling spots in Shenzhen and in Hong Kong on June 13, Guangdong police said.

The provincial police have also busted five other soccer betting rackets since June 2. Twenty-two people were arrested, five of whom are bookmakers.

Thursday afternoon in the co-operative campaign the Guangdong police raided one spot in Yantian District, Shenzhen, and arrested a bookmaker whose surname is Zhang.

Zhang is a Hong Kong resident who was engaged in cross-border soccer gambling in Shenzhen via telephone and the Internet, police said.

The police also seized the day's betting slips worth 5 million yuan (US$606,000) at Zhang's spot.

On the same day, Hong Kong police raided several illegal soccer betting spots in areas north of the New Territories.

Police from both sides said they would strengthen co-operation in the crackdown on cross-border illegal soccer gambling during the World Cup tournament, being co-hosted by South Korea and Japan between May 31 and June 30.

Guangdong police launched a vigorous campaign against illegal soccer betting at the beginning of this month and raided five rackets in the province.

In the first raid on June 2, four persons were arrested in Guangzhou, and betting slips with a value of 26,000 yuan (US$3,152) were seized.

In another raid, three persons were arrested in Guangzhou and betting records for an estimated 1.6 million yuan (US$194,000) were nabbed.

Although gambling outside the State-sponsored lottery is illegal, it is not uncommon to see gamblers placing heavy bets on soccer matches and on the underground lotteries.

The police said they would continue their efforts to crack down on illegal soccer betting.

(China Daily June 20, 2002)

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