Deputy national police chief Chalermkiat Srivorakhan said yesterday (June 18) that about 250 of the 3,000 arrests were in Bangkok and adjacent provinces.
No young people had been arrested and police were not aware of any crimes committed relating to losses from football gambling during the four days, he said.
More than 100,000 football gambling websites had been detected, about 100 of them operated by Thai people. The local websites were a development from conventional bookmakers, who had previously taken bets using written records.
Their online operations were set up ahead of time but were already being monitored before the matches started by police gathering evidence to support requests for court orders to close them down, Gen Chalermkiat said.
“Gambling on the World Cup is bigger than it was four years ago because people have easy access to football gambling websites via mobile phones,” the deputy national police chief said.
He also said police would summons about 10 net idols to Phaya Thai Police Station in Bangkok next week and charge them with inviting people to gamble on football matches.
Pol Maj Gen Romsit Weeriyasan, acting secretary-general of the Anti-Money Laundering Office, said his organisation, police, telephone service operators and 36 financial institutions had joined forces to detect online gambling.
He warned parents to keep their children away from online gambling because they could face not only criminal prosecution but also seizure of their assets.
Meanwhile, police continued their nationwide crackdown on football gambling yesterday night as the FIFA World Cup 2018 group phase matches continued in Russia.
A combined force of security and local officials in Surat Thani raided a football gambling den on Chalok Rat Rd in Muang district and detained 14 people – 12 gamblers and two employees.
Phitsanu Nuannom, a senior administrative official who took part in the 8pm raid, said the gambling premises were a former boxing stadium now converted into a shop called The Ku.
People standing at the counter of the shop waiting to place bets appeared stunned by the sudden arrival of the law enforcement team, and then started running away. Some escaped arrest by climbing up and over a wall, he said.
The shop was decorated in the FIFA World Cup 2018 theme – with numerous international flags and other decorative material – and had two gigantic LED TVs for showing the matches to customers, he said.
Also seized were B268,205 cash, a number of bank passbooks, nine computers and football betting slips, used and unused, he said.
Authorities had received a tip-off that the former boxing stadium was being operated as a football gambling shop, he said.
Two other raids were also reported in Surat Thani yesterday night. Evidence of bets being taken was seized but no suspects detained.
In Prachuap Khiri Khan, police raided four spots in Hua Hin district, arresting a total of 19 suspects.
Col Thanakon Wongsirilak, chief of Hua Hin Police, said the series of raids began about 6pm.
The first spot targeted was a three-storey building about 200 metres from a school, he said. Eight suspects were detained and seven computers suspected of being used for gambling were seized for inspection.
The second raid was on a computer shop called CmDesign, where 11 people were held and another 20 computers and 30 mobile phone SIM cards seized, he said.
Both premises had a room equipped with a large TV screen where customers could watch football matches.
The other two premises raided later yesterday night were the homes of the owners of the first two places, he said. Police impounded more evidence, including computers and bank passbooks.
The two owners denied organising a football betting service, saying they had only promoted the World Cup on the internet. Police were not convinced and the investigation was proceeding.
In Buriram, seven suspects were detained in a similar raid at a commercial building in Nang Rong district, according to an informed source.
Investigators had learned the premises were being used for online football gambling. Police seized 13 computers and about B8,000 in cash were seized for inspection.
Six of the seven people arrested confessed to gambling online there. The seventh, Warawut Sirisan, 24, told police he only waited on customers and collected fees for using the computers.
He said he worked for a man known only as Hia Mu, who owns the shop, but he was not there at the time of the raid.