Denpasar Police held a press conference detailing the raid on a property in Kuta on the 17th of August. Speaking at the Police Headquarters in Denpasar on the afternoon of Wednesday 24th August, Police Chief Bambang Yugo Pamungkas confirmed that his teams were able to close down the illegal online gambling operation and arrest nine suspects believed to be masterminding the operation.
Police Chief Pamungkas told the press that his teams arrested seven men who are known now by their initials JS, AF, DA, MR, ARI, and AS, as well as two women, EN and FA. Another man with the initials AS is believed to have been arrested in connection with the operation, one is an accountant for the gambling business. Together they had been operating two gambling websites.
Gambling illegal in Indonesia and authorities are swift to close down any operations as soon as they are alerted to them. Authorities are more inclined to close down gambling operations like the sites being operated in Kuta, or betting on sports. Cock fighting remains a strong part of Indonesian culture and gambling in these arenas reportedly remains widespread.
According to Police Chief Pamungkas, all seven of the suspects are Indonesian but not originally from Bali. He shared how the operation had been running since last July and that they have been working out of a boarding house in the Kuta area. He stated how the operation is believed to be turning over IDR 1.3 billion every month, which is about USD 87,000.
During the road, police were able to secure the operations rooms of the illegal gambling enterprise. The evidence seized included sixteen computer screens, high PC units, five laptops, twelve smartphones, and two WiFi routers. It has been speculated that the two gambling websites had upwards of 14,800 members who were registered all around Indonesia. Police are now scouring the site’s servers to investigate members and whether any further action can be taken against them.
When asked for further details about the raid and the subsequent arrests, Police Chief Pamungkas said ‘all the suspects share roles, namely, 3 people are in charge of marketing to market the online gambling site, and 5 people act as operators to help members top up and withdraw balances, and 1 person is the treasurer of the online slot type gambling game service provider on the www.site.ptwd4d.com and www.pt98bet.net’. Both sites were immediately closed down.
Police were made aware of the website through reports from local people. The tip-offs were followed up by the Operations Units at Denpasar Police Headquarters. Once they were confident they had gathered sufficient evidence they orchestrated a raid on the PI Lodgings building on Jalan Campuhan I, Dewi Sri, Kuta last week.
Police Chief Pamungkas ended the conference with his closing statements ‘The perpetrators who provide slot-type online gambling services through this website are suspected of Article 45 Paragraph (2) in conjunction with Article 27 Paragraph (2) regarding information and electronic transactions with a maximum imprisonment of six years’.
Police in Bali are quick to act on any reports of gambling operations on the islands. In June 2022 Police raided the newly opened The Goat Pub in Seminyak after rumors of an illegal horse betting operation being run out of the venue.
During the raid of the sports, bar police uncovered evidence of a formal gambling operation including a laptop, a manual recap of bets, and over USD 1500 in cash thought to be from bets placed on the day of the raid.
Shortly after the arrest of the pub landlord and two of his staff, local newspapers in Bali ran stories suggesting that local police had requested ‘peace money’ to resolve the issue. Local investigative journalists contacted Bali Police regarding the speculation and they did not comment. The pub remains open and operational and no further updates have been shared by local news outlets.
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