More than 5,000 people have been taken into custody in a crackdown on illegal World Cup gambling in Asia, where police raided hundreds of betting dens, international police agency Interpol said on Friday.
Interpol coordinated the operation in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and China, including Hong Kong and Macau.
Police also seized USD 10 million in the operation targeting gambling linked to organised crime.
"As well as having clear connections to organised crime gangs, illegal soccer gambling is also linked with corruption, money laundering and prostitution," the Lyon-based organisation's No 2 official Jean-Michel Louboutin said.
The operation "will have a significant long-term impact on these serious offenses as well," he said.
Police raided nearly 800 illegal gambling dens that dealt with bets of more than USD 155 million, Interpol said in a statement. The operation ran from June 11 to July 11.
Police also confiscated cars, bank cards, computers and cell phones, and the materials "will now be reviewed and analysed to determine the potential involvement of other individuals or gangs across the region and beyond," Interpol said.
Calls to China's Ministry of Public Security rang unanswered later the day.
But according to a July 8 statement posted on the ministry's website, police uncovered more than 900 cases of online World Cup gambling, and detained or arrested more than 4,400 people. The total of seized and frozen funds added up to nearly USD 118 million, the statement said.
Singapore police said they arrested 36 suspected gamblers and bookmakers last week, breaking up a USD 1.1 million illegal betting operation.