An impressive operation by the Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department has led to the tackle of widespread illegal gambling operations in Borneo over the last year.
By using anti-gambling hotlines and clever tactics such as shutting off electricity, the department has made more than 2700 arrests. The year started off with a bang in February, when police arrested 160 individuals in 97 raids during a week-long operation.
Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Chief Datuk Dev Kumar said the raids were conducted from February 5 to 11 and involved charges of selling illegal 4D, cyber-gambling, gambling in a gaming house, and gambling in a public place. All those arrested were being investigated for offenses under the Common Gaming House Act 1953.
Shutting off electricity in Sarawak
After a busy summer, police from the department decided to sever power supplies to anyone considered of conducting illegal gambling. It led to the arrest of another 280 people in September.
Operations were focused on Kuching, Padawan, Sibu, Miri, Bintulu, Bau, Samarahan, Betong, Limbang, Maradong, Kanowit, Marudi, Julau, Serian, Sarikei, Kapit, Mukah, Saratok, Sri Aman, Lundu, Lawas, Dalat, and Song, with a total of 224 raids carried out over the past month.
The targets were those who carry out online gambling, as well as illegal four-digit operations and all other forms of illegal public gaming.
Hotline leads to almost 1000 arrests
Now, to continue their efforts, an anti-gambling hotline has been established. Already 1,209 informants from Sarawak have come forward to help state police tackle illegal gambling.
The head of the Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department, Senior Assistant Commissioner Dennis Leong, said the police are incredibly grateful for all information from the public.
He said: “Sarawak police has set up a public hotline to enable the rakyat to play a direct role in the war against illegal gambling. So far the hotline has received information from 1,209 people, and out of these we have conducted raids leading to the arrest of 975 people.”
He added: “We urge the public to continue helping us. We give our assurance that their identity will be kept strictly confidential.”
Now it seems that other states will be using the same tactics, as illegal gambling is becoming more widespread in Borneo and taking a terrible toll on low-income families. Neighboring state Sabah’s police chief recently called illegal gambling dens a “scourge” and has pledged to stamp them out.