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Police uncover illegal gambling website made by teens, for teens

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : April 18, 2024 - 16:42

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Busan police on Thursday arrested the operators of an illegal website that offered illegal gambling services mostly for teenagers, run primarily by teenagers.

The cyber investigation unit of the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency arrested a man in his 20s on the charge of operating an illegal online gambling website. Also under investigation are 16 teenagers suspected to be operators of the site, including two suspected to be the founders.

Officers believe that the website was created by two boys, one in high school and the other in middle school, in December 2022. The boys got acquainted with each other through an online video game community and have a high level of computer skills, according to officials.

The younger suspect was in charge of managing employees and finances, while the older suspect took care of technical issues related to the server. They used accounts they bought under the names of other minors when transferring money.

The two ran the operation by hiring mostly middle and high school students, with occasional young adults. The adult suspect arrested by the police had been a user of the site himself, before he applied to work there.

Operators of the website lured in users by introducing it to people around them or through digital ads they posted in local online communities, which is why most of the users were around their own age. They made around 21.3 million won ($155,000) off 1,578 who used the website until it closed down in October last year.

Officers said that while most of the users were middle and high school students, 96 teenagers thought to be habitual users of the website are under deliberation for potential punishment by a police committee for the minor crimes of minors. Most of them, 74, were in middle school, and there was even one elementary school student user.

The users bet as much as 2.18 million won at once, with one high school student transferring money to the site's operators 325 times over four months. Their cases will be deliberated by the police committee, and their punishments will range from receiving a warning to being required to join a gambling treatment program to having to go through a criminal investigation.