Eight arrested over betting ring

June 14, 2006

Dylan Welch
June 15, 2006

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Police have busted an alleged World Cup football betting ring in Sydney.

Police from City Central and assisted by the South East Asian Crime Squad, raided three rooms at the four-star Metro Hotel on Pitt Street, about 8.45am and arrested eight people.

Police say the six men from Hong Kong, aged between 24 and 46, and the two women from Malaysia, aged 22 and 23, had more than $20,000 in cash as well as computers, networking equipment, calculators, mobile phones and documents.

The eight flew to Australia three days ago as part of an organised sports betting operation with Asian links, police allege.

The Department of Immigration confirmed the eight had been transferred into the care of the department yesterday, and are  being held at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney's west.

"They were interviewed by the department last night and their visas have now been cancelled because they were not genuine tourists and were allegedly involved in an illegal World Cup betting operation,'' an immigration spokesman said.

"All have been detained and transferred to Villawood Immigration Detention facility where arrangements are being made for their removal from Australia.''

The spokesman said while it was the department's intention to deport the eight, they may delay any deportation if police want the eight to face the charges before being returned to their respective countries.

"We will be liaising with the police … if they do require them to remain in Australia pending charges [police can apply for] Criminal Justice Stay visas,'' the spokesman said.

The eight were charged with unlicensed bookmaking under the Unlawful Gambling Act and are due to appear before Downing Centre Local Court on July 4.

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