Updated: 07/18/2014 22:01 | By Agence France-Presse

1,400 held in Interpol sweep on illegal World Cup betting networks

More than 1,400 people were arrested and nearly $12 million (8.8 million euros) seized in an Interpol-led clampdown on illegal betting networks in Asia during the World Cup, the organisation said Friday.

1,400 held in Interpol sweep on illegal World Cup betting networks

Photo taken on June 30, 2014 shows people walking past a screen showing highlights from the 2014 football World Cup, on a screen outside a shopping mall in Beijing - by Greg Baker

Police officers from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam conducted more than 1,000 raids on illegal gambling dens in the six-week operation.

Many of these were operated by organised crime gangs and believed to have handled $2.2 billion worth of bets, mostly through illegal websites.

The operation lasted from June 1 to July 13.

"The results ... are significant in relation to the volume of bets being handled by these illegal gambling dens, as well as the number of arrests," said Jean-Michel Louboutin, Interpol's executive director of police services.

"Illegal gambling generates massive profits for organised crime networks which are often linked to corruption, human trafficking and money laundering, which is why a coordinated international response is required to tackle this type of crime," he said.

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