Police in the southern Guangdong province of China have broken up another major online gambling ring. On March 20th, the Shenzen public security bureau uncovered an illegal gambling operation after conducting a series of raids in the cities of Shenzen, Jieyang, and Guangzhou. The news, however, was just made public now after the state-run Xinhua media outlet made the announcement on Thursday.
The public security bureau launched the investigation back in February and has since taken into custody more than 150 suspects following the raid, including the five of them who are allegedly the ringleaders. Bank cards, computers, and other gambling equipment were among the things that were recovered in the raid as well.
According to the police, the ring had close to 2,000 agents and promoters in charge of paying out winnings to and collecting cash from the ring’s registered gamblers who are around 50,000 in number. Reports say that the ring made profits of over RMB400m (US$62.7m) from numerous gambling sites by the time the police discovered them.
Recent Similar Busts
China has declared war on illegal gambling after making a series of similar busts over the recent months, including another raid in Guangdong that happened on March 12 where over a hundred suspects in two major operations were arrested. Last month, police broke up a casino operating illegally out of a tent on a mountainside neighboring Shenzen after getting a tip-off the previous week. In the same month, police in Baoshan City in Yunnan Province raided yet another illegal casino housed in a three-story villa and detained over 100 suspects.
More rings are certainly under close observation in this period preceding next month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup. The event that occurs every four years is usually a busy time for both the country’s bookmakers and the police who are bent on preventing them from rivaling the state-run Sports Lottery.
The authorities in China are also coming up with creative ways of tracking down illicit land-based gambling operations. Just this week, the police in Hubei province raided an illegal gambling den and arrested 12 gang members and 49 patrons, who had previously managed to dodge the police in the cities of Xiantao and Wuhan by shifting the den’s operations to new venues continually. The Wuhan Public Security Bureau hired aerial drones to scrutinize a suspected gambling site giving the police a three-dimensional view of the property thus enabling them to come up with a constructive plan a raid that will ensure no one escapes.