Shanghai Police Continue Crackdown on Virtual Casinos
Police in Shanghai continue to fight organized gambling and recently made arrests after breaking up another group of online providers.
Because gambling services are so limited in mainland China, criminal organizations have stepped up their game when it comes to offering illegal ways to wagers. In Shanghai, groups are creating online streaming services so players can wager and enjoy gambling. Just recently, police in Shanghai made several arrests involving individuals as these illegal services.
A total of seventeen people were arrested for being involved in organized gambling. Some of the suspects arrested are based overseas. These individuals are accused of live streaming gambling from machines to people located on the mainland.
Officials located in the Changning District began an investigation earlier this year on the matter and used information from a solved case to move forward. The suspects have been said to use WeChat to recruit players. Advertisements and groups were created via WeChat to bring people in to support the organization.
Gamblers would then place bets by using QR Codes that the suspects provided. Cameras were set up in front of the gambling machines, all of which were located overseas. The suspects would allow the players to watch gambling live stream, so they could see if they won or not, watching the action unfold in real time.
Those arrested allegedly operated over 100 gambling machines. From the casino, they reportedly earned over one million yuan, which is equal to $153,000. Because gambling is illegal on the mainland of China, criminals have set up organizations like this to rake in profits.
A nationwide campaign began this year to try and stop the illegal gambling operators. This year along, police in Shanghai have solved over 700 cases involving gambling. More than 2,800 people have been arrested for offering such services.
Working with Others
For the operators to be successful, they have to have people on the inside. The operators will recruit people located domestically so they can provide services to players. Illegal organizations use other people for technical support, transferring money, etc.
A recent case in the Fengxian District found that a mobile app was being operated on the mainland involving a gambling website based overseas. In this instance, 51 people were arrested. Police say the suspects were using online payment methods, SMS services and online support to run the business along with SIM and bank cards.
The app was developed by a company in Wuhan. The company was busted a few months ago and those involved ended up confessing that several apps had been created in the past few years with the help from overseas operations.
In other cases, organizers would provide services for gambling via foreign websites. In many cases, the operations include online services because no real physical location is needed. You don’t need a large space to allow players to wager from a mobile device or computer, so it is much easier to keep the operations hidden. For the Shanghai operations, gamblers were provided with sub-accounts and these were used for gambling on overseas websites.
Because gambling is not allowed, those who want to take part would seek out such operations so they could enjoy the entertainment option. However, this is a big no-no according to government officials. Based on criminal law in China, anyone who organizes gambling services for a profit can be sent to prison for up to three years. Anyone who runs such services would be subject to as many as 10 years in jail.
Players who take part in the gambling services are also subject to charges. Police can detain a participant for up to 15 days. Officials can also choose to fine these individuals for taking part in illegal activity.