Chinese Internet celebrity Guo Meimei has been sentenced to five years in prison for running an illegal casino.
In a ruling handed down in a Dongcheng District People’s Court on Thursday, Guo was also fined 50,000 yuan ($7840).
During the hearing, Guo admitted inviting people to play high-stakes poker involving 2.1 million yuan at an apartment in Beijing between March and July 2013 but denied running an illegal casino. Guo’s associate Zhao Xiaolai helped her collect the money using a point-of-sale computer terminal.
Zhao was sentenced to two years in jail time and fined 20,000 yuan, while Guo’s other associates, including ex-boyfriend who is a professional poker player, will face trial at the later date.
Guo was arrested last July for promoting international online betting sites via her popular social media accounts and was held on suspicion of running gambling sessions, engaging in prostitution and posting fraudulent information on her website during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Guo first hit the headlines in 2011 after posting photos online showing her in a Maserati sports car and holding expensive handbags. She claimed that she was general manager of the Red Cross Society of China, a state-backed charity.
Although Guo later retracted her Red Cross connections, the damage was done as the incident raised doubts over the charity’s credibility and triggered public concern about embezzlement and improper management of charities.
She confessed her crimes in a tearful China Central Television interview, apologizing for her luxurious lifestyle and for also damaging the reputation of the Red Cross Society of China.
HONG KONG GAMBLING DENS RAIDED
Hong Kong police have raided three illegal gambling dens in two days.
A flat in Mong Kok was raided Monday despite resistance from gamblers who formed a human wall to block the entrance. Police confiscated HK$20,000, three gaming tables, a card reader and membership cards.
On Tuesday, two gambling dens were raided. In Sham Shui Po, HK$190,000 worth of casino chips and HK$10,000 in cash were confiscated from a gambling place offering baccarat. Fourteen people were also arrested, aged from 26 to 58.
An illegal mahjong den in a flat in Tuen Mun was also raided, in which 21 people were arrested. Police confiscated eight electronic mahjong tables, 16 sets of mahjong tiles and HK$10,000 cash.