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Southern China Police Smash Vast Soccer Gambling Racket

Action from a World Cup semifinal included Spanish defender Carles Puyol's (center) game-winning header in Durban on July 7.
Police in Hong Kong and southern China have broken up a World Cup soccer gambling racket that had taken in an estimated $1 billion in illegal bets.

The Hong Kong police said 74 people were arrested in Hong Kong and 29 in China during the operation, codenamed "Copperflame."

Investigators said it was the largest syndicate of its kind to be smashed by police in the financial hub and former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

compiled from Reuters reports