Malaysia's minister for Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has revealed that the police have taken action against e-gambling in raids on 2 900 premises, where some 2 600 persons have been arrested and charged from January to May 2009.

“We view this [illegal e-gambling offence] seriously because if it's not controlled now, it may lead to other crime and may increase the rate of crime,” he said at a Parliamentary lobby on Wednesday.

“When a person gambles, he will be in debt and he may turn to an Ah Long, or rob, or be involved in snatch thefts to fulfill his addiction,” he said, adding that government has to look at the issue comprehensively.

Hishammuddin said he would work closely with the Criminal Investigation Department to focus on the Federal Territory and Selangor for now.

“We are on top of it. We will announce from time to time on the arrests made,” he said.

On Tuesday, the local Star newspaper front paged a report on illegal Internet mini-casinos through the use of computers in the Klang Valley following the introduction of new software linked to gambling providers in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The Home Ministry is also working closely with Bank Negara and foreign embassies to tackle the online gambling threat, the Minister revealed, adding that his ministry has identified 2 500 websites offering online gambling.

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