|Police in Taiwan have arrested 18 people this week on suspicion of running an illegal online sportsbetting operation that took advantage of the popularity of New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming.|
Officers from the island’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) broke up the operation in the western city of Taichung, seizing computers and arresting the alleged head of the operation, Huang Chu-ming. They also arrested the computer engineers thought to have maintained the company’s online presence.
Police said that the group set up several websites and were earning around three million dollars a month. They said that the group had even established a counterfeit law firm to serve as their offices with gamblers told to return bets using the name of this business.
The CIB stated that online sports betting has become rampant in Taiwan since Chien-ming became only the third native to appear for a Major League Baseball side. It explained that the group would have made good profits recently with the Yankees involved in the baseball playoffs and that most Taiwanese gamblers had bet in favour of the New York team making it through to its 40th World Series appearance.
However, the star-filled team was eliminated by the underdog Cleveland Indians franchise Monday night with Chien-ming pitching.
Police said that most Taiwanese online sportsbooks set up their servers outside of the country, making it very difficult to track and stop their operation, but that the CIB would continue its operations against any illegal domestic activities.