GEORGE TOWN, Aug 15 — Penang Deputy police chief Datuk Roslee Chik today revealed that there is a syndicate cloning entertainment outlet licenses to be used as a front for illegal gambling dens.
The police investigations suggest that the syndicate has managed to clone licenses issued by the local council and use it to open “entertainment” outlets.
“These outlets are then used as fronts for illegal online gambling activities,” he told reporters in a press conference today.
Roslee said the police will stop allowing entertainment outlet licenses from being issued or renewed by the local council immediately.
He said police first detected the syndicate that clones licenses three years ago.
“They can use 10 family entertainment outlet licenses and produce 100 fake license copies to open more outlets as fronts for online gambling dens,” he said.
Roslee said the only way to stop this is to stop the issuance and renewal of licenses for family entertainment outlets.
He said a total 224 family entertainment outlet licenses were issued in 2017 and the licenses expired at the end of 2017.
“Only seven licenses were renewed and after further investigations, we found that these outlets are no longer in operations,” he said.
The police also launched a widespread operation called “Operasi Dadu” since May last year to curb these gambling activities, he said.
“We need to monitor these outlets closely to stop this syndicate from cloning licenses again to open more gambling dens,” he said.
This year, till July, Roslee said 23 raids were conducted where 80 arrests were made and 91 gambling machines were seized.
Of the 23 raids, four were family entertainment outlets while 19 were involved in online gambling using tablets and smartphones.
“It is easier for us to raid and arrest those behind such illegal gambling dens if it’s located within premises but online gambling is more difficult since it can be done from anywhere,” he said.
He appealed to the public to report to the police if they notice any illegal gambling activities.
The public can call 04-2221722 or call the direct line to Criminal Investigation Department, Anti-Vice, Gaming and Secret Society Division (D7) at 04-2221610.
The public can also send WhatsApp messages to D7 at 018-9714808.