The South Korean government is cracking down on South Koreans who have set up Internet gambling Web sites overseas to escape a domestic drive against betting, an AFP report said.
The AFP report said South Korea's Information and Communication Ministry said that in cooperation with portal operators, the government blocked domestic access to 53 overseas gambling sites in the first week of this month.
A total of 181 overseas gambling Web sites have now been blocked to South Koreans since the start of the year, it said, adding the move affected 60,000 local punters, the AFP report said.
The action is aimed at preventing operators of gambling Web sites from moving their servers overseas, the ministry said in a statement, the report said.
Prosecution authorities last month also launched a crackdown on video gambling arcades, which have mushroomed across the country by taking advantage of legal loopholes.
South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun has made a public apology for failing to prevent the spread of the arcades, whose operators are suspected of bribing government officials in return for licenses and favors.
South Korea boasts one of the world's highest Internet penetration rates, with one out of every four people having access to high-speed Internet. South Koreans on average spend 47.2 hours per month in cyberspace, the third highest following Israel and Finland , according to the ministry.