Police have arrested 15 people, including one woman, in connection with illegal soccer bookmaking and punting activities, which The Straits Times understands involved World Cup matches.
The suspects - all Singaporeans - are between the ages of 23 and 70. They were nabbed after police conducted multiple raids at various locations around the island, including Choa Chu Kang, Teck Whye, Jurong East, Boon Lay, Geylang, Sengkang, Kim Keat, Bendemeer, Whampoa and Toa Payoh.
Cash amounting to about $350,000, an array of computers, mobile phones and other documents, such as betting records and bank transaction record booklets, were seized by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and the Police Intelligence Department.
A police statement said preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects were believed to have received illegal bets amounting to about $800,000 in the past two weeks.
Investigations are still ongoing.
Several agencies besides the police have stepped forward to join in the fight against illegal gambling, particularly during this World Cup season.
The National Crime Prevention Council, for example, has invited people to design posters that warn of the penalties of betting illegally during the World Cup period. The winning design will be placed on Housing Board noticeboards and coffee shops islandwide soon.
Advertisements which remind viewers that they could be fined or jailed for illegal betting will also be played during the commercial breaks of the World Cup broadcast on mioTV throughout the month-long competition.
Last year, 640 people were arrested in Singapore for illegal gambling and betting activities. In 2012, some 1,150 were caught for similar offences.
A total of 1,009 people were arrested for illegal gambling and betting activities in Singapore when South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010, according to the police.
Under the Betting Act, anyone convicted of placing bets with a bookmaker can be fined up to $5,000 and/or be jailed up to six months. Convicted bookies face a fine of $20,000 to $200,000, and a jail term of up to five years.