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More harness racing arrests likely in Qld

Queensland police have charged one man and flagged further arrests amid a crackdown on systemic match fixing in the state’s harness racing industry.

A 46-year-old licensed harness driver and trainer from Warwick has been charged with one count of match fixing over his alleged involvement in a “loose cartel” operating in the industry.

His licence has been suspended as a result of the allegation.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett says the cartel of drivers and trainers were involved in systemic match fixing and changed their tactics from race to race.

“It’s not every race, it’s not every race meeting – but it’s not a rare event,” Mr Barnett said at a press conference on Friday.

He said more arrests were imminent.

“There will be, in the coming days, more arrests,” he said.

Mr Barnett said investigators had received information from people within the industry who held concerns “for some time” about improper behaviour.

But he said there was no evidence as yet that traditional organised crime groups were involved.

Investigators this week searched properties of five harness racing participants at Limestone Ridges, Warwick, The Gap, Logan Village and Redcliffe.

Detectives seized mobile phones, computers, documents and clothing.

The items will now be forensically examined.

The crime racing squad was set up in 2016 to investigate serious animal cruelty, match fixing and major and organised crime across all three codes of racing.

The offence of engaging in match-fixing conduct was recently added to the state’s criminal code and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

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