Seventy-seven alleged members of an online gambling group in Fiji were flown back to China over the weekend, according to media reports.
Chinese state media outlet Xinhua reported that the arrested people were involved in more than 50 cases, targeting victims in mainland China. The group, which had been operating from China, Indonesia and Fiji, pocketed close to $900,000 from their scheme, according to reports.
The report stated that a team of Chinese police, sent to Fiji last July 2, arrested the group last July 18 in a series of raids that saw five dens destroyed. Authorities also confiscated mobile phones, computers, bank cards and other equipment.
There was no mention if there was a formal extradition process for the arrested people.
China, as we all know, likes to keep a tight leash on the fun stuff. Gambling is banned in the country, and the government is making good on its promise to “severely punish” both land-based and online gambling operators who target Chinese gamblers.
Police in Shaanxi province raided three locations several months ago and arrested 203 individuals, of whom over 100 will face criminal charges in connection with an online lottery fraud operation. Authorities said the ring operated by contacting players on social networking platforms such as QQ and WeChat with promises of high odds of winning lottery jackpots, then making the pitch to purchase fake lottery tickets online.
The ring, which was in operation since 2015, reportedly generated sales of RMB100 million ($14.5 million) before the authorities got wind of their dealings.
China has also stepped up its crackdown on cross-border gambling. Beijing authorities have joined forces with their counterparts in the Philippines to hunt down transnational cyber gambling operations that had mushroomed in the Southeast Asian country. So far, the two countries have managed to shutter four illegal websites, round up 99 people and freeze more than 1,000 bank accounts in April.