Gambling raid reveals larger criminal network

Major haul: Comm Arjunaidi (center) showing some of the confiscated items during a press conference at IPK Selangor in Shah Alam. — GLENN GUAN/The Star

SHAH ALAM: What started as a police raid on an illegal online gambling syndicate last month eventually led police to uncover a larger, more sinister network run by a “Datuk”.

The 40-year-old suspect who was arrested last week has been linked to illegal money lending activities as well as electricity theft for a bitcoin mining operation.

Police estimate the syndicate managed to rake in at least RM52mil in profits through its illegal activities.

Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Arjunaidi Mohamed said they first arrested 13 people after raiding four houses at Country Homes Rawang on July 6.

“The suspects aged between 17 and 40 were involved in operating online gambling activities for over a year.

“Our checks revealed they were paid between RM2,500 and RM8,000 for various roles in the syndicate’s activities,” he told reporters yesterday.

He said the 13 were charged three days later at the Selayang Court Complex under the Common Gaming Houses Act.

“Our personnel continued investigations and intelligence gathering before arresting a 40-year-old man who went by the name of Datuk Ken, and his 41-year-old wife on Aug 11 in Rawang.

“Investigations revealed that the man was the mastermind of the syndicate and was connected to not only online gambling activities but also the operation of an illegal money lending syndicate and illegal bitcoin mining activities,” Comm Arjunaidi said, adding that the syndicates had raked at least RM52mil in profits.

He said police seized 14 vehicles including a Lamborghini Huracan and Nissan GTR.

“We also froze 71 bank accounts linked to the syndicate as well as cash. The estimated seizure is valued at RM33mil,” he said.

Comm Arjunaidi added that the syndicate had been involved in illegal money lending activities since 2014 and would only offer loans to close acquaintances and businessmen with an interest rate of between eight and 10% monthly.

“We estimate that they raked in RM2mil yearly through this operation alone.

“Meanwhile, through the online gambling operation which has been operating since 2016 in Selangor, Perak, Pahang and Sabah, we estimate they raked in upwards of RM6mil yearly,” he said, adding that they began bitcoin mining last year and made RM800,000 in profits.

He added that investigations showed that the mastermind of these syndicates was named in the registration of 24 businesses.

“We believe the suspect funnelled the proceeds of his illegal operations into these businesses.

“We will further our investigations into the other types of businesses he was involved in,” he said, adding that police were now looking for two men – Chuah Seong Hooi (730903-08-5717) and Heow Hee Soon (901130-10-5221).

He said the two were believed to still be in the country and could shed some light into these investigations.

Those with information on the two should contact Insp Shahriman Mat Junus at 012-348 0281 or the Selangor police hotline at 03-2052 9999.

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