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China Busts Illegal iGaming Ring Worth $100 Billion

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Police in Sichuan, China, have recently launched a significant crackdown on an online gambling operation that spanned borders. A series of raids has resulted in the arrest of 93 suspects and the seizure of over CNY20 million (US$2.78 million) in illicit funds, although the network is worth considerably more.

Illegal Gambling Remains Popular in China

Local Chinese media outlet CCTV reports that this operation, which was primarily aimed at Chinese gamblers, was based in the Philippines and had close to a million registered users in China. The illegal transactions associated with this network exceeded CNY725.5 billion (US$100 billion).

Related: China Stands Strong Against Illegal Gambling and Fraud

Last year in May, an inquiry was initiated after a resident of Deyang, China, visited the online gaming platform Kakawan. Upon his registration, he was contacted by a customer service agent who proposed a threefold bonus increase if he made a CNY100 (US$13.90) deposit into his account.

Despite initially experiencing some wins, Yuan's luck quickly turned for the worse, leading to significant financial losses totaling over CNY100,000 (US$13,890) - his entire life savings. As a result, he decided to seek help from the authorities by reporting the situation to the local police.

The investigation has so far resulted in the arrest of 93 individuals. The trial is underway for the 50 suspects who have been charged with engaging in illegal gambling and various other criminal activities.

Duped into Participation

Following the additional reports, a task force was established by local law enforcement. That led to the discovery of the syndicate in the Philippines running three online gaming platforms aimed at Chinese individuals.

The investigation uncovered that a network with over 300 individuals was engaging Chinese citizens for different roles, enticing them with lucrative pay packages. Despite being aware of the unlawful nature of the operation, numerous individuals were enticed by the financial gains and played a key role in advancing the initiative, broadening the network's customer base in China.

It was reported that the recruits were initially assured positions in Philippine hotels. However, upon their arrival, they were designated to oversee betting operations, including accepting wagers from Chinese bettors via phone or online platforms. Additionally, some were responsible for managing player grievances or ensuring the upkeep of computer systems and network equipment.

There were numerous victims who, like Yuan, found themselves in debt as a result of gambling losses. Additionally, some victims were recruited by others, which helped to widen the network's influence.

Despite capturing the leaders, some individuals were able to evade being taken into custody.

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