China confiscates $32.4 billion in illegal gambling

Authorities have arrested more than 11,500 suspects and cracked down 257 criminal cases against illegal gambling

China’s Ministry of Public Security reportedly confiscated around 229 billion yuan (US$32.4 billion) with the launch of a campaign against cross-border gambling. The authorities have also arrested more than 11,500 suspects and cracked down 257 criminal cases against illegal gambling since the start of the operation late February this year.  

The fight against cross-border gambling and related crimes includes telecommunication fraud, money laundering, kidnapping, abduction and human trafficking. Apart from the seized amount, the ministry has also destroyed 368 gambling platforms, 148 alleged criminal groups, 187 underground banks and financial institutions. More than 27,000 bank accounts involved in the illegal cross-border gambling have also been shutdown and the authorities are currently investigating a possible collusion between over 200 banks and market regulators.  

The authorities have announced that they are on “zero tolerance” in the fight against illegal gambling and related crimes.

Gambling suspects will be blacklisted in border entry and exit, and shall face penalties against their personal credit ratings. The ministry stated that the list of these blacklisted individuals involved in illegal activities will be documented.  Authorities further added that they target organizations providing payment settlement or transfer services. 

The ministry published typical cases of cross-border gambling, such as casino companies abroad inviting customers to gamble in China, or some companies organizing gambling offshore. There are also cases where some provides technical support like financial settlement services, all related to cross-border gambling crimes.  

Last April, authorities from South China and Vietnam arrested more than 100 suspects allegedly running a gaming platform remotely in Vietnam. The group allegedly hired a Vietnamese operator and organise gamblers in platforms like WeChat and Alipay. 

China has intensified its effort against cross-border gambling amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and authorities have announced that they are on “zero tolerance” in the fight against illegal gambling and related crimes.   The ministry officials said that cross-border gambling has seriously harmed not only the economic security and social stability of China, but also its reputation and image.  

Authorities reminded the public to recognise the misleading nature of cross-border gambling and to consciously avoid gambling offshore through gaming platforms. They encourage everyone to report any illegal gambling activity and crimes related to it.  

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