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BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thailand's national police chief has asked the state telecommunications company to monitor telephone traffic by suspected gamblers during the 2002 World Cup.

Gen. Sant Sarutanonda said Thursday he had ``urged'' the state-run Telephone Organization of Thailand to cooperate with authorities by checking telephone numbers that were active during World Cup matches.

Sarutanonda has promised to crack down on betting during the May 31-June 30 tournament, which is being held in South Korea and Japan. He earlier proposed delaying broadcasts of World Cup matches, but the idea was opposed by broadcasters and the public.

Police also are looking into the Internet sites of known bookmakers,

The World Cup is expected to exacerbate Thailand's problems with illegal gambling. Underground betting on boxing and soccer matches is not uncommon.

A recent study by Assumption University suggested $204 million would be spent on gambling in Thailand during the World Cup.