After arresting 23 suspects, police believe they have got the best of two triad-operated gambling syndicates, one of which received HK$3.4 billion in football and horse racing bets in the first four months of the year.
In three operations code-named "Crowbreak," "Windshield" and "Spotsight" on June 19 and 20, the 23 suspects - 19 men and four women aged 23 to 77 - were arrested for illegal bookmaking, operating premises for bookmaking, money laundering and assisting offenders.
In the "Crowbreak" operation on June 19, three of the suspects were arrested in Shek O, Shau Kei Wan and Yau Tong.
In the "Windshield" operation the same day, two brothers were arrested in a Shek Kip Mei hotel.
The elder brother had rented a room in an attempt to hide his younger brother from the police.
In the "Spotsight" operation the next day, 18 suspects were arrested in the New Territories and Kowloon.
During the three operations, police seized HK$8.6 million in cash, HK$11,730 worth of foreign currency banknotes, handwritten betting records, four luxury cars, three tablets, phones, computers, televisions, shredders, printers and bank documents from locations across the city, including a Tin Shui Wai residential unit that doubled as a betting den.
Police have also frozen HK$19.5 million in bank accounts owned by the suspects' relatives, which were used for money laundering.
Organized crime and triad bureau chief inspector Hui Hong-kit said the HK$3.4 billion tally of bets came from seized handwritten notes.
He also said five phones seized from the other syndicate on June 20 recorded HK$2.3 million in bets.
Hui added that this syndicate, which had been in operation for a year, was spearheaded by a mastermind and three assistants acting as bookmakers, bet collectors and bookkeepers.
"Members lower in the ranking were middlemen who solicited gamblers through calls and social media," he said.
Hui said this syndicate operated an illegal gambling website in the mainland called "Crown" on days when there were football matches and horse racing.
Bureau superintendent Ho Chun-tung said the police will tirelessly combat illegal gambling activities, especially during events such as the European Football Championship.
Police said 168 people had been arrested in connection with illegal bookkeeping cases between
June 1 and yesterday.