China Reports Increase in Gambling-Related Crimes During First Half Of 2021

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July 27, 2021July 27, 2021David Walker

China has recorded a 27.7 percent rise in the number of gambling related prosecutions in the country for the first half of 2021. According to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the top national agency in China responsible for legal prosecution and investigation, a total of 46,575 people were prosecuted so far this year for crimes related to gambling.

The latest figures represent a 27.7 percent increase from 2019. Figures for 2020 have not been taken into account as they were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of prosecutions (86.3 percent), were in relation to the “establishment of casinos“, the agency said.

All forms of gambling, except for state-run lotteries, are prohibited in mainland China. Casino gambling is only allowed in the special administrative region of Macau which is home to dozens of major brick and mortar casinos. But online casino gambling is outlawed in the region.

In 2019, a total of 86,843 people were prosecuted for gambling-related crimes. This year’s figures are on course to surpass 2019’s record.

While China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate did not specify whether the casino-related crimes were linked to online operations or illegal gambling venues, it has emphasized that online gambling is fast becoming a crime hotspot, replacing traditional land-based casinos.

The nature of internet-based gambling has made it difficult for authorities to chase after illegal operators as they’re able to conceal their wrongdoings by setting up servers outside China. The crimes also involve a huge number of people who may not all be
arrested during a single operation as some of them may not be present during a raid.

Back in May, authorities investigated over 18,000 cross-border gambling cases, and more recently, 74 suspects were held in Chengdu City, some of them allegedly ran more than 20 illegal gambling apps.

Cross-border gambling crimes have now become a prominent problem that must be continuously tackled, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.

Offenses related to online gambling and cross-border gambling also pose a threat to the Chinese people. Often, those offenses give rise to other forms of crime, including extortion, unlawful detention, cross-border criminal activities, and financial scams.

Criminals To Face Heavier Punishments

To better manage the increasing number of gambling-related crimes in China, the Procutorate said the government will impose harsher punishments, and law enforcement agencies will strengthen cooperation with relevant departments to protect the public and effectively curb gambling-related crimes across the country.

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