posted on Jun, 13 2004 @ 05:35 PM
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - In a crackdown on sports betting, police arrested 353 people across Thailand for gambling on Euro 2004 Cup soccer matches
during the opening hours of the tournament, a spokesman said Sunday.
The suspects were arrested starting late Saturday, when the opening match between Portugal and Greece was televised locally, police spokesman Maj.
Gen. Pongsapat Pongcharoen said.
Forty-five of the gamblers were apprehended in the Thai capital, Bangkok by late afternoon Sunday. Further details about the arrests were not
The suspects, including 31 bookies will be prosecuted for gambling, Pongsapat said. He urged authorities to use particularly harsh measures against
suspects found to have been arrested for the charge more than twice before.
Although most gambling is illegal in Thailand, it is tolerated and widespread. The maximum penalty for illegal gambling is one year in prison.
Police officials said earlier they would keep a close eye on Internet activity and open a center to halt soccer betting during the Euro 2004
European soccer is enormously popular in Thailand.
During the 2000 tournament, Bangkok police arrested 260 people for gambling and seized nearly 4 million baht (US$98,500), a police official said
Thailand's Kasikorn Bank has estimated that local betting turnover during this year's three-week tournament could reach as high as 33 billion baht