Online betting gang rounded up

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 May, 2007, 12:00am

Police in Yangzhou have formally arrested five people and detained 16 others for their roles in an online gambling syndicate that accepted 4 billion yuan in bets in less than two years.

The syndicate's five ringleaders - identified as He Yongan , Huang Guanying , Zeng Ye-ming , Chen Zhiqiang and Zhou Jie - allegedly based the operation in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province , and acted as agents for 13 overseas gambling websites, the Legal Daily reported.

The ring came to police attention in June when Yangzhou internet police discovered that Chen had logged on to several overseas gambling websites using several identities, and placed bets totalling billions of yuan.

A special taskforce of 14 police squads in Yangzhou and Guangzhou spent about two months investigating the case before swooping on September 13, and taking the five ringleaders, seven intermediaries and 11 members into custody.

A laptop computer seized by police showed the company had placed more than 4 billion yuan in bets during two years of operation and made a profit of more than 4 million yuan.

The report said the investigations revealed the five started out operating an online football gambling ring using beepers. In August 2004, they set up a company to act as an agent for an overseas online casino.

By June last year, the company had developed a hierarchy of agents with more than 1,000 members across the country, and acted as agents for 13 online gambling websites, the paper said.

Apart from capturing the top operators of the syndicate, police also confiscated HK$1.3 million and 600,000 yuan in cash, 11 cars, 19 computers, two guns and two fake army car number plates, the paper said.

The Ministry of Public Security listed the case as one of the 10 biggest online crimes last year, and it is being handled by Yangzhou's Guangling district procurators. Gambling is illegal on the mainland but underground betting has grown rapidly.