21 Hong Kong Jockey Staff Arrested For Illegal Bookmaking

The South China Morning Post broke the news on Monday that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Hong Kong had detained 21 people since Operation Iron Triangle was launched this Saturday. The arrests included half a dozen staff members of the Hong Kong Jockey Club

The arrested individuals included 15 members of a bookmaking operation. The  corrupt and illegal were operating from a residential premise in the Tsuen Wan district. But there were also six HKJC team members who felt the long arm of the law: four stable staff and two assistant trainers.

The ICAC stated that the suspects were involved in “the provision of privileged information to facilitate illegal bookmaking and control of race horses.” ICAC’s investigation into the matter is far from over, but for the moment it was willing to provide all the details.

The HKJC issued a statement saying it cooperated with the ICAC and that the “upholding uncompromising integrity has always been the core value of the Club.”  The HKJC added that it has “zero tolerance for any illegal acts or activities of its employees.” As the betting monopoly of Hong Kong, the HKJC is used to search further for illegitimate rivals to demonise, including some popular ones. Some HKJC execs even referred to their competitors by daring to stick their straw into the milkshake of the HKJC as having blood on their hands.

Having said that, the HKJC was forced to acknowledge the increasingly violent political protests in Hong Kong on Tuesday by issuing a statement refuting online rumours that the Sha Tin racecourse was “has been used as a police base.” The HKJC said that this claim was “untrue,” but admitted that “some police vehicles accessed the racecourse without notifying” the HKJC.

The HKJC finds it increasingly hard to remain aloof from the riots in Hong Kong, having been forced in September to cancel a day’s worth of races. In that case, activists threatened to disrupt a race featuring a horse owned by pro-China lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, who was previously caught felicitating pro-China thugs who beat pro-democracy protesters on video.