Two cases of illegal gambling syndicates in Asia highlight the amount of money being wagered on the 2014 World Cup.

Police in Macau broke up a ring that took in $645 Million during the opening matches. 22 people were arrested by police in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The syndicate was operating out of three hotel rooms in Macau where they took internet and phone bets from people around the world. One gambler allegedly placed a $5 Million bet with the syndicate.

In the same hotel, police broke up a different illegal gambling ring that took in up to $645,000 in bets in a single day during the World Cup.

Hong Kong police seized illegal betting slips that had around $10 Million in bets placed and arrested 39 people in the first two weeks of the tournament. Illegal sports betting in Hong Kong generates about $64.5 Billion each year in the territory.

Singapore security officials arrested 15 people in a illegal gambling ring that took in $640,000 in World Cup bets during the opening stages of the World Cup.

Over half of all illegal sports gambling takes place in Asia.

(See all illegal sports gambling statistics and figures here.)

Source: Sophie Brown, “Macau busts $645 million World Cup betting ring,” CNN, June 23, 2014.

 

According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol, black market smuggling of charcoal across Africa causes losses up to $9 Billion a year across the continent, with governments losing at least $1.9 Billion in tax revenue. The value of the illegal charcoal trade in Africa is reportedly three times the amount of the continent’s illegal drug trade.

Security and intelligence agencies believe that terrorist groups, militias and organized crime syndicates earn up to $289 Million from the illegal charcoal sale. By comparison, the groups make about $12 Million a year from black market ivory sales.

Al-Shabaab, a militant group based in Somalia, is believed to earn between $38 Million to $68 Million  from black market charcoal sales and taxation per year.

Source: Hannah McNeish, “$213bn illegal wildlife and charcoal trade ‘funding global terror groups’,” Guardian, June 24, 2014.

Security and intelligence officials in Russia estimate that over $700 Million worth of crab is illegally fished and poached from its waters each year. Most of the boats that poach crab from Russian waters are registered in Cambodia or Sierra Leone with its crew being from Russia. Most of the illegally caught crab is transported to Japan and South Korea.

Fishermen in Alaska also report losing sales due to illegal fishing of crab. The trade group in the state reports that at least $560 Million was lost over the past decade due to illegal crab poachers undercutting their prices.

Source: Stephanie May Joyce, “Searching for the Russian Crab Mafia,” Bloomberg Businessweek, June 19, 2014.

A man from Myanmar told a reporter from the Associated Press that he was sold by a human trafficking broker to a Thailand fishing boat for $616. The man originally thought that he was going to work on the boat for 6 months, yet ended up working for over a year. During the time, the Burmese man stated that he slept for 3 hours a night.

The seafood industry in Thailand employees 2 million people and is constantly facing a labor shortage. Many Thais do not want to work on the fishing boats where the wages are low, the job is dangerous, and many boats are at sea for months and even years. To meet this shortage, an estimated 200,000 migrants from Cambodia and Myanmar are working on the boats. A 2013 survey of 600 workers conducted by the United Nations found that almost none had signed a labor contract and about 40 percent had their wages cut without explanation.

Nearly 6 out of 10 migrant workers on Thai fishing  boats reported seeing a co-worker killed by the captain, according to a 2009 UN report. The man who was sold by traffickers told the AP that after a sick man died on the boat the captain simply tossed the body overboard.

The fishing industry in Thailand exported nearly $7 Billion worth of seafood in 2013. Most of the seafood was exported to Japan and the United States.

Source:  Associated Press, “Thailand’s Rampant Trafficking May Carry Price,” ABC News, June 13, 2014.

Based on statistics released by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), there were at least 20,000 elephants killed world wide by poachers in 2013 for their ivory tusks. The number of elephants killed was slightly down from the 22,000 elephants killed in 2012 and the 25,000 poached in 2011.

At the end of 2013, there were an estimated 500,000 African elephants living in the world. 95 percent of the elephant population has been killed during the last 100 years.

The ivory is collected from elephants in Africa and sold in markets in Asia. According to Cites, there are 8 countries that are heavily involved in either buying, selling or providing illicit ivory. The countries are Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in Africa, and China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in Asia.

The three African countries accounted for 80 percent of the major seizures in Africa in 2013.

Security forces stated that many of the gangs involved in wildlife trafficking are now using existing drug trafficking routes to smuggle the ivory.

(See more elephant poaching statistics here.)

Source:  Damian Carrington, “Fewer elephants killed in 2013, figures show,” Guardian, June 13, 2014.

According to intelligence by the United States, there are about 37,066 acres of fields in Jamaica that are growing marijuana, or ganja, in the country.

66 percent of Jamaicans have stated in surveys that they have smoked marijuana, and 85 percent favor medical marijuana.

Despite wide-spread belief about ganja, marijuana is technically illegal in Jamaica.

(See more statistics about marijuana use here.)

Source:  Aileen Torres-Bennett, “Jamaica mulls legal pot (no, it’s not already legal),” USA Today, June 9, 2014.

A report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and computer security company McAfee reported that up to$445 Billion a year is being lost globally to cybercrime activities.

Online crime, hacking and the theft of intellectual property could cause up to 200,000 jobs being lost in the United States and up to 150,000 jobs in Europe.

A reported 50 million people in the United States had their personal identification stolen within the past year.

Source:  Chris Strohm, “Cybercrime Remains Growth Industry With $445 Billion Lost,” Bloomberg, June 9, 2014

A BBC report stated that many women in their 50s, 60s and 70s in South Korea are offering sexual services to elderly men in order to survive. The women gather in Jongmyo Park in Seoul where they offer Bacchus energy drinks for sale. Retired men who gather in the park purchase the energy drink and then bring the woman to a nearby motel.

According to one customer interviewed by the BBC, the price for sex with the women costs between $19 to $29 (20,000 to 30,000 South Korean Won.)

About 400 women work as prostitutes in the park. A social worker who interviewed the women stated that one women started working as a prostitute at age 68. Most of the women are experiencing financial difficulties.

(Additional prostitute rates from around the world.)

Source:  Lucy Williamson, “The Korean grandmothers who sell sex,” BBC News, June 9, 2014.

Additional prostitution stats and prices available in our ebook:
prostitutionbook

Police in Vietnam broke up a human trafficking ring where women were being sold as brides to men in China. According to media reports, the men were paying $11,800 (250 Million Vietnamese Dong) for the women in 2014.

In June of 2013, Chinese men were caught paying $5,700 (120 Million Vietnamese Dong) for Vietnamese women to be their wives in China.

(More prices of human trafficking victims worldwide.)

Security experts in both countries state that the gender imbalance in China is leading to more women from neighboring countries to be trafficked. In 2013, there were 697.2 million males and 663.4 million females in China. With 33.8 million more men in the country, many men in rural areas are finding it difficult to find available women, leading to the black market in brides.

(See all human trafficking statistics here.)

Source:  Ngoc Ha, “6 arrested for trafficking Vietnam women to China,” Thanh Nien, June 6, 2014.

A survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce found that an estimated $1.3 Billion (43.5 Billion Thai Baht) in illegal gambling bets is expected to be placed in Thailand during the 2014 World Cup Tournament. By comparison, an estimated $789 Million (25.7 Billion Baht) is expected to be spent on consumer goods and parties, such as new television sets.

Thailand has a huge illegal gambling industry.  There are over 3 million gamblers in Thailand who gamble at any of the 700,000 to 1 million illegal casinos across the country.

Source:  Phusadee Arunmas, “World Cup a boon to spending,” Bangkok Post, June 6, 2014.