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Thousands Arrested in World Cup Gambling Swoop

Interpol says more than 5,000 people across Asia have been arrested in a coordinated crackdown on illegal gambling during the World Cup.

The Paris-based police organization said Friday that almost $10 million was seized during the raids on nearly 800 gambling dens in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Sites in Hong Kong and Macau also were raided.

Police targeted betting shops with links to organized crime. Interpol said the raided shops had handled bets totaling more than $150 million.

The crackdown took place between June 11 and July 11 to coincide with the World Cup competition, which captured the attention of millions of sports fans around the world.

Interpol said illegal football (soccer) gambling is linked with corruption, money-laundering and prostitution. It said the operation should have an impact on all of those activities.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.