Cricket betting cheats evicted

Betting cheats evicted from the Cricket World Cup opening match in Christchurch used multiple cellphones and laptops to relay information to people overseas willing to pay big money for the information, police say. 

A security expert said police probably knew who they were looking for before Saturday's game began.

Police arrested "several" individuals and groups for courtsiding during the New Zealand versus Sri Lanka match at Hagley Oval.  

All were trespassed from future International Cricket Council events.

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Betting cheats banned from cricket games

Courtsiding refers to a spectator at an event sending immediate information on game scores and activities before it is broadcast. The delay can be up to 15 seconds and allows people overseas to make spot bets.

Superintendent Sandy Manderson said yesterday that some of the cheats caught at Saturday's game lived in New Zealand. The others were overseas visitors.  

Manderson said plainclothes police trained in spotting courtsiders, as well as members of the public, identified the men.

They were relatively easy to spot because of the technology they used, including cellphones and laptops. 

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 "We noticed a number of people courtsiding, pitchsiding or cheating whatever you like to call it," she said.  "Some of them [the cheats] have multiple telephones.

"We've got a list of some people we're watching  ...  We know what to look for." 

The cheats were interviewed, but not arrested. 

Police knew they were contacting people overseas because the cheats told them, but Manderson would not say where.

Manderson said police were not "necessarily" monitoring match-goers' phone calls, but were keeping an eye on social media.

When asked what the cheats stood to gain, Manderson said: "We are talking about a lot of money", though it was possible those at the game worked for someone else.

Manderson said police would arrest the men, who she presumed had tickets to other matches, if they attended other games.New Zealand coach Mike Hesson called the evictions "a good sign".

"I think there will still be elements that try to take opportunities in these tournaments and it shows the ICC have got things as under control as they can." 

Scotland captain Preston Mommsen said it was "disappointing" courtsiding still happened. 

 "It's obviously something that is very hard to control," he said.  "From a playing point of view, we're very well policed [and] it's not something we really think about."  Cellphone security expert Mike Chappellsaid police probably knew  who they were looking for before the cheats arrived. The ICC's intelligence unit would identify cheats. Chappell did not think the cheats would have used sophisticated methods. They would have stayed on the phone relaying information throughout the game, because the delay from seeing it live to broadcast was about 10 to 15 seconds.

Police would need a warrant to monitor phone calls. Because of the number of cellphones at the event, it would be difficult to monitor calls unless police knew the phone numbers. Cheats probably purchased new phones regularly, Chappell said.

While not illegal in New Zealand, courtsiding is in breach of the terms of entry to matches at the Cricket World Cup.

Meanwhile, two streakers could face fines of up to $5000 and three months imprisonment.

The two men, who  will appear in court tomorrow  charged with pitch invasion, were among 14 people were evicted and trespassed due to intoxication and inappropriate behaviour.

 - The Press

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