On January 9, Mr. Johor Baru of the Malaysian regional MCA complaints bureau held a press conference to reiterate the dangers of online gambling. The gathered reporters were introduced to Mr. Po, who wished to remain anonymous, and to listen and report his story so others may not fall into a similar situation.
Mr. Po is a 36 year old business man who a few months earlier was introduced to the world of online gambling by a friend he recently met. The friend showed him how easy it is to place bets, and always win at a certain online casino in Malaysia.
. As Mr. Po watched, his friend won $32,500US within a few minutes by betting on dog races. Mr. Po was intrigued at how easy it is to make money and immediately decided to gather all his funds and deposit them with the online casino.
Mr. Po’s friend explained that to deposit money quickly, the best method is to call a member of the Ah Long, a Malay word for a mafia loan shark, give him the money to deposit and credit will shortly appear on the online website. Mr. Po was introduced to Ah Long members by his friend who also borrowed $44,000 to make an extra large bet which he lost. The friend gave Mr. Po a check for $13,000US and promised to repay him shortly. Mr. Po never saw the friend again but continued to make deposits with the Malaysian mafia and bet on sports in Malaysia at the same online casino.
Over a fourteen day period, Mr. Po lost $228,162US at the online casino, out of which he borrowed $114,000US from the Ah Long mafia loan shark. Mr. Po stated that “the most I won was $10,000, and I now owe ten times that to the Ah Long mafia, who are becoming aggressive about recovering the debt.”
Mr. Baru explained at the press conference that Mr. Po got involved with a dangerous international crime syndicate that runs illegal online dog and horse races on three continents, but especially in Macau, Australia, England, Singapore and Malaysia. Mr. Po warned that “there is no such thing as easy money. I urge the government to pass Malaysian gambling laws banning Internet gambling sites as people can access them easily.”
The PAS has long sought to radically overhaul laws on land-based and online casinos in Malaysia – in effect, criminalizing them altogether for religious reasons – so far with little effect.