Bo Wang’s return to China on Saturday marked a crucial step in the investigation of an online gambling ring that attracts bettors in China. Police said they have already arrested 125 people and seized more than $12.9 million in connection with the case.
Police in China arrested 125 people in Heilongjiang province, bringing the axe down on a cross-border online gambling network that involves a company based in the Philippines.
On Saturday, authorities escorted Bo Wang, the main suspect in the case, from the Philippines to Harbin City in the Heilongjiang province. According government website China Police Daily, Wang’s return in the country marked a crucial step in the police investigation.
In addition to the arrests, police have also seized more than $12.9 million (80 million yuan) in gambling funds and frozen bank accounts with funds amounting to $37.03 million (230 million yuan).
Wang was arrested by Philippine immigration authorities on Feb. 5 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The Chinese national, who flew in from Malaysia, carried a cancelled passport and had been using Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) visa to travel in and out of the country since 2009, according to officials.
Wang was detained by the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) for six months before the Department of Justice ordered his immediate deportation last Thursday.
According to the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, Wang was wanted by the Chinese government and Interpol on charges of illegal gambling and money laundering. Documents submitted by the embassy showed Wang was a key player of the Manila-based Skybet network gambling company, who led a P91-billion crime syndicate in China.
But a CalvinAyre.com source said Wang worked as a customer service agent for Dafabet before taking his role at Skybet, and that Wang was “likely just the front man for the operation and far from the top of this organization. The brains are probably back in China and Wang is just the patsy.”
Police in China’s Mudanjiang City first heard of reports about the gambling website “dafa888.com” in February 2014, ChinaNews.com reported. A task force investigating the reports found the Philippine-based site is run by Dafabet and has been in operation since 2002.
The company offers online services, including sports betting, poker and other betting games, and has attracted bettors from more than 10 provinces in China.
Police has already blocked two websites operating under Dafabet, and are currently trying to extradite six Chinese nationals involved in the operations. So far, two Chinese residents have already been sent back to China from the Philippines, authorities said.
Gambling activities in China for the purpose of revenue generation are punishable by up to three years in prison and fines.