On Friday June 3, in a series of simultaneous raids in historic Georgetown, police raided and closed down 14 online casinos in Malaysia which were disguised as internet cafes.
The raids were the result of information received by Division Chief Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sayuti Harun of the Secret Societies, Gaming and Anti-Vice Division in Penang.
The 24 hour internet cafes were operated by two organized crime networks on the island, one catering to wealthier Malays and the other accepting bets as low as 1RM ($.30).
Gamblers would walk in, give money to the guard who placed a call to the online casino which created and credited a temporary account. The casino provided the guard with the login name and password.
When the customer logged into the online casino from the internet café the temporary account was already credited with an identical sum given to the guard.
The initial 13 locations which were raided around 4pm were operational, while the 14th had not yet opened for business that day. Police arrested a total of 26 suspects including a member of the RELA, the Malay paramilitary immigration quasi-police.
Thirteen suspects guarded thirteen online casinos where thirteen customers were gambling at the time of the raids. Police confiscated 198 computers and 6880RM.
ASP Harun explained to the media that earlier in May, police were approached by an online gambler who lost close to $25,000 and feared for his life. The unfortunate online gambler decided to borrow money from the friendly proprietor of one of the Malaysian internet casinos/internet cafes the police raided, which he promptly lost.
The friendly proprietor turned out to be Ah Long, a member of an organized crime group, and not friendly at all after hearing that more time was needed to repay the loan. The online gambler ran to the police for protection and provided the locations of other Malay online casinos inside internet cafes on the island.
Online casinos are illegal under Malaysian gambling laws and all suspects were jailed for violating Section 4B(A) of the 1953 Common Gaming Houses Act as well as Section 6(2) of the 1998 Entertainment Enactment. The servers of the online casinos are located outside Malay jurisdictions.