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Correctional Services Department introduces anti-gambling operations ahead of 2016 UEFA European Championship (with photos)

     The Correctional Services Department (CSD) has implemented a series of measures and operations to combat potential soccer betting and other gambling activities conducted by persons in custody arising from the 2016 UEFA European Championship to be held in June.

     The department's Acting Senior Superintendent (Quality Assurance), Mr Lam Wai-on, said today (June 1) that the CSD always attends to the regular schedule for work and rest of persons in custody in correctional institutions, strives to ensure their discipline and institutional order, and proactively combats any illicit activity.

     Mr Lam said, "Given that there were persons in custody engaging in various forms of gambling activities arising from the major soccer matches in the past, thereby affecting institutional discipline, the CSD has stepped up a series of anti-gambling operations from the beginning of this year to combat potential gambling activities involving persons in custody and to let persons in custody understand that the CSD has adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards any form of gambling."

     From the beginning of this year until the end of April, the department conducted more than 3 000 surprise search operations in various forms and scales in addition to routine searches. During the operations, 31 betting slips and 12 sets of gambling equipment were seized. Disciplinary actions were taken against 64 persons who had been confirmed after investigation to have participated in the gambling activities or were found to possess contraband used for gambling.

     Mr Lam said that in the past, persons in custody mainly used personally issued articles or surplus industrial materials obtained at work to make gambling equipment. In view of the strengthened control by the department in recent years to thwart gambling activities at source and with the intensive search operations, the chances of using surplus industrial materials to make gambling equipment and concealing related contraband by persons in custody have been reduced. The number of items of gambling equipment seized this year has fallen substantially as a result.

     In the light of the CSD's proactive combat action against gambling activities in correctional institutions, persons in custody changed to using other materials, which were more inconspicuous and easier to be concealed, to make gambling equipment and hid those items and betting slips in harder-to-find places. Nevertheless, through intelligence collection and comprehensive searching by CSD staff, contraband has no chance of escaping detection. The contraband includes gambling equipment that was made from matches issued to persons in custody for lighting cigarettes and other items such as betting slips found concealed inside a body powder bottle.

     CSD staff use extendable video pole camera systems and flexible inspection tube cameras to conduct searches. Since both types of equipment are fitted with lights, CSD staff can conduct searches effectively in the dark.

     The extendable video pole camera system is mainly used to search higher locations as CSD staff can view the areas concerned without climbing up for the search. The flexible inspection tube camera, which is waterproof, is mainly used to search gaps, such as areas behind large machines in workshops, drains and areas outside windows.

     During the Championship, the CSD will continue to step up the anti-gambling operations.

Ends/Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:19


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