PETALING JAYA, April 6 — The police have already detained 21 gambling syndicate operators under the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) in 2018, according to Bukit Aman CID Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd.
He told The Star newspaper that police were going after the syndicate heads as part of their effort to eradicate gambling rings nationwide.
“We are not just going after the henchmen or caretakers of gambling joints. We are hauling in the masterminds as well.
“Last year alone we have arrested 34 operators under Poca,’’ he said.
Bukit Aman also seized RM1.6 million in cash from the syndicates last year.
The efforts to combat gambling rings increased after Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun took office as the new Inspector General of Police in September.
Bukit Aman’s Secret Societies, Gambling and Vice Division (D7) and Special Task Force for Anti-Vice, Gambling and Gangsterism (STAGG) have conducted more than 18,541 raids last year and seized 90,139 gambling machines nationwide.
In 2016, 16,553 raids resulted in 29,173 arrests and the seizure of 116,739 machines, he added.
Najmuddin added that although illegal gambling is not prevalent in the country, police faced difficulties combating the syndicates, especially as most were now going digital.
“Some syndicates also opt for mobile online gambling with smartphones and tablets. Others use a token or points system to transfer credits to winners’ accounts,’’ he said.
Wan Ahmad also said the approval of family entertainment centres by local authorities were also a problem as syndicates often used these premises as a front for their activities.