Taiwan police have arrested 45 people involved in a betting ring worth more than US$40 million a year including wagers on the upcoming elections, officials said Monday (Jan 4), adding the racket could have influenced voting. Police launched weekend raids on 31 venues across the island and made the arrests on charges of gambling and obstructing votes, prosecutors said. “As the ring had so many posts islandwide and so many gamblers were involved, we fear that the gambling could influence the outcome of the election,” said Wang Yi-wen, spokesman for the Taoyuan Prosecutors’ Office.
Taiwan holds presidential and parliamentary elections on January 16. Gambling is banned in Taiwan, apart from lotteries run by authorised banks. But there is a vast underground network involving private casinos, pigeon-racing and bets linked to Hong Kong horse-racing.
Investigators said gamblers were betting via the ring on the outcome of the elections as well as on sports and on an illegal lottery, using phone and fax lines, mobile phones and online.