Online gambling war: Indonesian task force probes fraudulent bank accounts, payments at mini-marts

JAKARTA: Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Hadi Tjahjanto, who leads the newly established anti-online gambling task force, said on Wednesday (June 19) that his team was investigating how fraudulent bank accounts and payment services at mini-marts allegedly had been used for online gambling.

The interministerial task force was established last week by the government to coordinate efforts to combat online gambling, which has become a national concern following incidents of self-destructive behaviour and crimes linked to gambling addiction.

The team includes representatives from the National Police and the Communications and Information Ministry, among others.

Hadi said on Wednesday that the police would investigate whether some 5,000 bank accounts that were recently frozen by the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) had been used by bookies or syndicates organising gambling operations.

Authorities, he said, suspected that they used these accounts, registered under someone else's name, for their operations. Hadi said his team found indications that the groups lured people, mostly living in villages, into opening new bank accounts and selling them to bookies to be used for online gambling transactions.

Hadi encouraged holders of the frozen accounts to clarify whether they were innocent. The task force, Hadi said, also found indications that people could make payments or buy deposits for online gambling at mini-marts.

“We have enlisted the help of non-commissioned police and military officers assigned respectively as public order officers [Bhabinkamtibmas] and village supervisory officers [Babinsa] to find suspicious activities in their respective areas,” he said.

The Communications and Information Ministry, meanwhile, will block access to gambling websites. Gambling of all kinds, both online and offline, is illegal in Indonesia.

Under the Criminal Code (KUHP), players and organisers of a gambling event can face a maximum punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a Rp 25 million (US$1,520) fine.

The Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law stipulates punishment of up to six years in prison and a Rp 1 billion fine for distributors of online gambling software.

Despite these punitive measures, 3.2 million Indonesians, mostly youths and people from low-income households, engaged in online gambling activities with an estimated transactional value of around Rp 327 trillion last year, government data showed. - The Jakarta Post/ANN

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Indonesia , gambling , fradulent , bank , accounts , mini markets


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