Chinese authorities continue to crack down on illegal gambling operations within the country.
While the World Cup is now over in Brazil with the whole world joining Germany in celebration of their fourth title, illegal gambling still plagues some corners of the planet. According to the Ministry of Public Security in China the police have arrested over 100 gamblers and seized 18 billion yuan (almost $3 billion) in cash at various gambling operations breaking Chinese gambling laws.
Previous reports have shown that during the time the World Cup was held in Brazil between June 12 and July 13, the law enforcement agencies have busted a large number of small and big illegal online sportsbooks in China.
Press officer for the ministry, Zhang Hongqiang, had the following comments in Chinese gambling news: “Most of the servers involving online soccer gambling were located overseas, and the foreign suspects colluded with their domestic counterparts to operate the criminal ring.”
Popularity of sports betting in China
Chinese authorities continue to wage a war on illegal gambling in the country
• Illegal online sportsbooks in China were the primary targets during World Cup
• Almost $3 billion in cash and assets were seized by the authorities
• In the majority of cases, illegal websites are based offshore
According to the regulations almost all gambling activities are banned in mainland China. Lotteries organized by the government and local councils, as well as Chinese sports lottery in some cases are the only forms of legal wagering available to the population. It’s no surprise that underground gambling dens and illegal betting operations thrive in China, since demand overshadows supply.
According to the ministry’s spokesman, the majority of illegal betting operations have computerized bases overseas, but target local population with their offers. There are different way to attract punters including entry tickets and membership fees, but one thing is true about all these underground operations – they are making a log of money illegally.
Police is cracking down on the criminals
There are lots of examples where the police forces are busting illegal gambling operations. On one of such occasions, the ministry sent public security forces to eight different provinces in China including the likes of Gansu, Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Fujian. The July 4th action was a unified effort successfully eradicating a major criminal gambling ring with members from different countries.
During this operation the police have arrested 17 suspects and agent from China and the Philippines. Law enforcement officers have also seized and froze over 30 million yuan in cash and illegal accounts. This particular effort dated back to May this year, when the authorities managed to find out that one offshore gambling site was hiring Chinese agents to attract local gamblers. The agents were supposed to build and extend the underground gambling network throughout different provinces.
Once the site was uncovered, Jiangsu police immediately reported it upstairs to the ministry and the ministry in turn has set up an investigative task force to deal with the criminal operation. Police from seven other provinces were asked to join in on the investigation.
Once the task force was created, the investigators were able to link the website to its location in the Philippines. A Filipino banker was also uncovered to have joined up with two Chinese operators to create illegal gambling sections on the website and start calling in punters ready to bet on various sports, but largely on the World Cup.
According to the ministry, the criminals behind the operation gained over 200 million yuan in illegal revenues through membership fees and commissions paid by punters themselves.
Illegal betting during World Cup
A couple of months ago, the Ministry of Public Security has set up a dedicated campaign aimed at battling illegal gambling operations, especially the online betting during the World Cup. The efforts of this particular campaign will continue throughout the whole year, even though the World Cup is over now.
Since January this year, there have been over 7,000 criminal cases uncovered by the ministry in connection with illegal betting or casino operations. Over 23,000 suspects have been arrested due to various gambling allegations this year alone.
The ministry is planning to continue devoting a lot of attention to operators and organizers of illegal gambling activities. Local police forces are even promising rewards for those who provide the authorities with useful information, which may lead to arrests.
The biggest problem for the law enforcement is the fact that most illegal gambling websites are based offshore. But according to Li Wei, a lawyer and member of the Beijing Lawyers Association, the key here is “to use technical means and enhance law enforcement cooperation with relevant countries to strengthen intelligence collection and analysis.”
According to Li Wei, authorities should also rely on cooperation with banks and financial regulators in order to exercise tighter control. This will also help prevent large sums of money from leaving the country through illegal channels.