Police bust dozens of gambling syndicates
Provincial police in Fujian and Sichuan have smashed dozens of online underground gambling syndicates that have handled about 4 billion yuan (HK$4.6 billion), and detained nearly 800 suspects.
With the World Cup beginning in South Africa on June 11, police in Fujian told China News Service on Tuesday that they had cracked down on 24 soccer-related illicit gambling rings with more than 3.6 billion yuan involved and detained 769 suspects since January.
A spokesman for the provincial Public Security Department said co-operation among departments on the same and different levels of government had made the campaign a success.
Police in Quanzhou busted three online gambling cases, including a website operated by a Hong Kong resident, and arrested 116 suspects as well as seizing nearly 100 million yuan, the news service added.
In a similar case, police in Fuzhou, the provincial capital, smashed a gambling network that used a Hong Kong-based service provider. Police arrested 34 suspects and confiscated more than 310,000 yuan and two cars.
A total of 33 people were detained by police in Xiamen and Nanping in operations related to illegal gambling websites.
In Sichuan, the Chengdu Evening News reported that the city's procuratorate announced on Monday the arrest of 12 suspects for running an online casino.
The report quoted one of the prosecutors as saying the syndicate had made more than 10 million yuan with a volume of up to 203 million yuan between November and the end of March.
Liu Xiaoxin , the chief editor of Soccer News, said yesterday that it was no surprise for law enforcement authorities to battle underground gambling syndicates before the World Cup.
'Apart from suppressing the red-hot gambling atmosphere during this period, the authorities also want to crack down on underground lotteries, which take in 10 times the income that legal lotteries run by the country do,' Liu said.
Global Betting & Gaming Consultants in Britain put China's soccer gambling market at US$33 billion in 2006, tripling from two years before.