China / Society

Police boost efforts to combat gambling

By Zhang Yan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-16 08:35

Authorities to supervise the Web for crime rings during FIFA World Cup

National police are required to strengthen intelligence gathering and severely combat gambling crimes during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil between June 12 and July 13, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

"Local public security organs will pay attention to collecting clues reported by the public, and will use technical means to enhance intelligence gathering and analysis of ball gambling," said Zhang Hongqiang, press officer for the ministry.

According to a statement provided by the ministry's public security administration department, during the FIFA World Cup, local police will reward the public for reporting clues and will intensify supervision of the Internet to obtain timely intelligence for their investigation.

"We will target the organizers and further dig out gangs or transfer channels for illegal funds to bring down the gambling rings," according to the ministry statement.

In recent years, ball gambling has generally become a matter of organized crime, the ministry said. This has resulted in a crime chain that includes website development and rental, organized gambling, advertisements and recruitment of members, as well as transferring of illegal funds to elude the police.

According to the ministry, during the World Cup, police will cooperate with other departments, including industry, commerce and culture sectors, to increase publicity and education. They also will pay regular visits to work units and residential communities to tell people about the social harms of such crimes and will guide them to abide by the laws and abstain from gambling activities.

According to the China Center for Lottery Studies at Peking University, the amount of illegal funds of ball gambling lost abroad reached 600 billion yuan ($97 billion) each year, 15 times more than the total annual amount for the issued sports and welfare lottery tickets.

Although the ministry didn't release detailed statistics involving ball gambling crimes, it said such crimes have risen sharply in recent years.

According to the Criminal Law, if people are convicted of gathering for gambling or engage in such activities to seek profits, they will face jail terms of less than three years and fines.

Li Chuang, a lawyer from the All China Lawyers Association, said, "In order to seek high profits, some criminal gangs have deliberately spread false information and bribed or even threatened ballplayers and referees to throw the match, during which some gamblers lost all their money, became bankrupt or even thought of self-destruction."

In addition, most of the organizers and operators stay overseas, and through operating ball gambling, a number of illegal funds have been transferred abroad through underground banks, resulting in huge losses of domestic funds, Li said.

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