On July 11, 2018, the Chinese police apprehended over 540 people for organizing an online soccer gambling game which involved the exchange of bitcoins. The illegal betting places were conducted in south China’s Guangdong Province.
Squashing Gambling Rings in China
The police in Guangdong Province said that the total amount involved was over 10 billion yuan (1.5 billion U.S. dollars). According to the local authorities, the crackdown hit about 20 gangs involved in organizing illegal betting for the world cup football matches. The news was first reported by the China media house Xinhua. Although gambling is illegal in many parts of China, there are some designated locations for citizens to gamble.
As part of the investigation, China police has arrested six core members running the operation and has also frozen five million yuan, which translates into $750,000. Apart from that, they have also seized cryptocurrencies worth $1.5 million.
The police also confiscated external devices and hardware such as computers, bank cards, servers, and cell phones. As a result of the raid, 250 online chat groups and 70 mobile apps and websites were shut down.
The investigation started May when the police came across a virtual gambling platform that accepted cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. The platform had reportedly enlisted over 330,000 members in the past eight months. It is important to note that cryptocurrencies, although not entirely banned, are under heavy scrutiny from government officials.
Crypto Craze Mingles With Football World Cup Fever
In a bid to nab the gamblers the Guangdong police formed a task force and organized 21 teams comprising the public security authorities to catch culprits in cities across the Guangdong state.
According to an official press release, published after the raid, authorities said that these online gambling crimes are mostly “pyramid-style” schemes that lure investors with the help of recruited agents at various levels. After luring members, the profit is made off from the middle member’s betting amount. The press note added:
“The relevant person in charge of the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department’s network police corps said that the public security organs will continue to maintain a high pressure on the online gambling. At the same time, it is an illegal and criminal act to open a gambling platform and participate in online gambling. Please ask the fans to watch the ball rationally and consciously resist gambling crimes.”
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