In Hong Kong, seven influencers were detained on suspicion of promoting foreign websites that took bets on World Cup games, local media reports.
They are charged for taking pay for their positions. A conviction for encouraging gambling on social media in Hong Kong carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a fine of HK5 million, while those who promote gambling on unlicensed websites risk up to nine months in jail.
One of them is the well-known personality Chantale Belle, also known as Bui Yee-lam, a Hong Kong actress with over 220,000 Instagram followers. The other six are self-employed businesswomen in the cosmetics industry with tens of thousands of followers. All of them have been released on bail while an investigation is ongoing.
Police are attempting to determine whether the same organisation approached each of the ladies to place ads.
Regional crime unit chief inspector Chan Ka-ying of the New Territories South told the South China Morning Post: “We believe that because of their online influence, criminals offered monetary rewards to lure them into promoting illegal gambling websites and attracting players through their social media platforms.”
A total of 153 people were arrested when police raided and closed down 22 triad-controlled gambling dens in 2020. So Mei-yan, also known as Cry So or So Miu-Miu, has also been detained by police in February for broadcasting her online gambling activities to her thousands of followers.