Indonesia to block access to online gambling platforms; over 400 suspects arrested in major crackdown

JAKARTA (Bernama-Antara): Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Hadi Tjahjanto announced on Friday that the online gambling task force will cut off people's access to online gambling platforms.

The task force will also involve village-affiliated non-commissioned officers (Babinsa) of the National Armed Forces (TNI) and security and public order officers (Bhabinkamtibnas) of the National Police (Polri) in monitoring payment systems that can be misused for online gambling.

"The task force will block access to overseas online gambling platforms, particularly by targeting network access providers," Tjahjanto said at a press conference in Jakarta on Friday, reported ANTARA.

He said that the task force is currently working to directly cut off people's payment access to online gambling platforms.

"The Bhabinkamtibnas and Babinsa are actively monitoring the trading of bank accounts used for online gambling, as well as mini-markets that sell credits for online gambling top-up," he stated.

Furthermore, the task force is continuing to monitor the trend of online gambling activities in Indonesia, especially following the implementation of prevention measures, he added.

President Joko Widodo officially established the online gambling eradication task force led by Tjahjanto on June 14.

Tjahjanto said on June 19 that online gambling networks have been linked to the practice of bank account trading that often targets people in villages.

For the monitoring and eradication efforts, the task force will involve Babinsa, Bhabinkamtibnas, and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK).

The PPATK has recorded 4,000 to 5,000 bank accounts that are suspected of being affiliated with online gambling networks.

Their data will be handed over to Polri's Criminal Investigation Agency for further handling.

The agency will announce the names of suspected bank accounts to owners, and if within 30 days no one admits ownership of the accounts, the agency will hand over the funds in the accounts to the state.

In the next stage, the agency will trace the owners of those bank accounts.

Indonesian police have uncovered 318 cases of online gambling and arrested 464 suspects in a major crackdown over the past three months, a senior police official reported.

The operations, conducted by the Criminal Investigation Department's Online Gambling Eradication Task Force, took place between April 23 and June 17, according to its head, Commissioner Wahyu Widada.

"We have seized significant amounts of evidence, including 67.5 billion rupiah (US$4.6 million) in cash, 494 mobile phones, 36 laptops, 257 bank accounts, 98 online gambling accounts, and 296 ATM cards," Wahyu said at a press conference.

He pointed out that the number of online gamblers in the republic has reached 2.37 million, including children.

"Yesterday, it was reported that 80,000 children under the age of 10 were involved. This is a deeply concerning situation," he added.

Wahyu noted that most online gambling transactions are small - often below 100,000 rupiah (US$6.80) - but the number of participants is substantial.

The crackdown is part of a broader government initiative to protect the public from the adverse impacts of online gambling.

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