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Malaysia's Police Force Launches Anti-Gambling Operation, Arresting Over 900 People

Malaysia recently held a police exercise that received an enormous response in an effort to combat illegal gambling in the country. They arrested 905 people across the country in a two-week period, coinciding with the commencement of the Chinese New Year.

Between January 15 and 29, law enforcement officers conducted 137 raids under the banner of Op Limau (Malay meaning "Lemon"). They detained 120 people in the first four days.

The operation's major goal was to counteract gambling operations centred on gaming in public or private facilities, as well as gambling in public locations. In addition to the arrests, investigators seized around MYR513,790 (US$120,381).

There is no stone unturned.

The operations were carried out by Malaysia's Undercover, Gambling and Crime Division, with assistance from other law enforcement agencies. Datuk Noorsiah Saaduddin, Secretary of the Royal Malaysian Officers, informed reporters that police conducted 20 raids between January 15 and January 19.

As a result, 115 males and five women were arrested, and MYR92,481 (US$21,668) was seized. They could also have offered information indicating where the authorities could uncover more illicit gaming businesses, resulting in future raids and arrests. There was also a WhatsApp hotline where people could give tips for Operation Limau.

Saaduddin also stated that 650 of the 904 arrestees face charges of indoor gambling. The remaining arrestees were allegedly caught gambling in public places. Saaduddin didn't say what kind of gambling or betting was going on.

Police nabbed nine people in one raid in the city of Sungai Petani. According to Kedah Police Chief Datuk Wan Hassan Wan Ahmad, officers launched the operation around 2.45 a.m., shocking the participants. He claimed that the raid was carried out as a consequence of a tip and intelligence gathering operations.

The suspects' ages varied from 20 to 47. They were engaged in some form of card-based gambling, and police confiscated MYR20,984 (US$4,915) following the unexpected visit.

Another operation, this time in the city of Kuching, resulted in the arrest of a 31-year-old Indonesian lady. She ran an internet gambling website and has already been in court to answer the charges.

She was sentenced to five months in prison after pleading guilty. She received extra four-month imprisonment since she was in the country illegally. Fortunately for her, they will take place at the same time.

Gambling is under attack.

Gambling is mostly outlawed in Malaysia, with the exception of Resorts World Genting (RWG). Previously, the government solely targeted illegal gaming operators, but the Common Gaming Houses Act of 1953 changed that.

The law made gambling establishments illegal and imposed penalties on those who attended them. Gamblers can now face monetary fines and up to six months in jail for gambling in their own homes or the houses of friends or family members.

However, there has been significant uncertainty about the law's text.

Lotteries were the other exception, in addition to RWG. They're also on the chopping block right now.

As of January 1, the state of Kedah prohibited all types of gambling, including lotteries. Any existing operator can continue to operate, but cannot renew their licence when it expires.

Perlis, another state, is considering a similar course.



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