ABF returns serve on alleged Aussie Open Scammers

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers have stopped two Estonian nationals from entering Australia after it was revealed they planned to engage in corrupt betting activities at the Australian Open.

The two men, aged 37 and 38, arrived at Melbourne Airport on a flight from Bangkok on Tuesday, 17 January, and were intercepted by ABF officers on arrival.

ABF officers became suspicious of the pair after discovering an unusual amount of electronic devices and other unusual items during a baggage examination. These items included remote controls, soldering irons, glue, a spy camera and an electronic keypad.

During questioning, the pair made admissions that the electronic devices were going to be used to bet courtside at the Australian Open.

 Courtsiding involves a person sitting courtside at a sporting event and sending messages to another person, in some cases overseas, to give them up to several seconds’ advantage on how a match is progressing. This additional time is then used to place a bet before the betting agencies can update their odds.

 The practice is commonly used by transnational crime syndicates who target international sporting events.

 Following the baggage examination, ABF officers determined the men to be non-genuine visitors and they were subsequently refused entry into Australia.

Regional Commander Victoria, James Watson, said the ABF will continue to work closely with law enforcement partners to prevent individuals from entering Australia who intend to engage in corrupt betting activity.


“Corrupt betting activity has the potential to undermine the integrity of Australian sport, and this detection highlights the vigilance of ABF officers in detecting and responding to a broad range of criminal activities and threats to our community,” Regional Commander Watson said.


“This was a sophisticated and well-prepared attempt by these individuals. This detection will be of interest to many agencies, including law enforcement, betting and sporting organisations around the globe.”


Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

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