China busts online betting, lottery sites

china-online-gambling-lottery-bustsChinese police have broken up an illegal online gambling ring with assistance from their counterparts in the Philippines.

On Tuesday, China’s Xinhua news agency reported that police in Jiangsu province had staged raids in five cities in late April after first becoming aware of the gambling ring’s existence in early 2015. It’s unclear why reports of these raids have only now become public knowledge.

Police said the ring operated six gambling websites that took in RMB 320m (US $48m) from punters since 2015. The ring based its servers in Thailand and Hong Kong, its service and financial staff in the Philippines, while local agents on the ground in China were responsible for reeling in betting clients.

A total of 36 individuals have been arrested, including 21 that were detained in the Philippines and subsequently deported to China for prosecution. Eleven “major” suspects are due to be prosecuted by the Yangzhou City People’s Procuratorate.

News of the bust follows last week’s reports of Shanghai police arresting 48 individuals for their involvement in an online gambling scam that generated illicit revenues totalling RMB 50m ($7.5m).

One user described losing RMB 70k after accepting a friend request on the QQ instant messaging service from a user with an avatar of a beautiful girl. The supposed hottie encouraged the user to bet with a website she claimed was affiliated with the Shishicai national lottery, but police say there’s that lottery doesn’t run an online betting site (besides, China’s entire online lottery market has been suspended for the last 18 months).

This isn’t the first time users have been duped into betting with bogus Shishicai sites. In April 2015, police in Guangdong province took down a major online gambling ring that involved some 200 different websites, 125 of which offered wagers on Shishicai lottery results.