Suherdjoko, Purbalingga– Police have arrested 34 illegal gambling suspects in two raids on Thursday and Friday in Central Java, including six suspects of an alleged online gambling ring in Bojongsari district, Purbalingga regency.
"One of the suspects gained his skills in Cambodia. He then [started] operating the ring in Purbalingga. The main server is in Cambodia," Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Ahmad Lutfi said on Saturday.
The other suspects were arrested in the regencies of Rembang, Pemalang, Banjarnegara, Pati and Magelang.
Regional police forces have conducted raids and arrested suspects on the instruction of National Police chief Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo to eradicate gambling in the country, including accomplices that fund the illicit operations.
Police had targeted "not only the players and bookies but also those who back them up", Listyo said in a statement uploaded to the National Police's Instagram account on Thursday.
The police chief's instruction came amid unverified rumors that former internal affairs chief Insp. Gen. Ferdy Sambo and numerous high-ranking officers were backing illegal online gambling. Speculation has been especially rife in social media posts referring to "Kekaisaran Sambo" (Sambo's Empire) and "Konsorsium 303" (303 Consortium).
The number "303" refers to the article on gambling in the Criminal Code, while Ferdy is a key suspect in the ongoing probe into the murder of Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat in July.
Asked about the rumors, National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo responded on Friday as quoted by Kompas: "in principle, we have always been stern against 'social diseases'" such as alcohol, gangs, drugs and gambling. (dre)