Zhejiang police crack major online gambling ring using WeChat groups, arrest over 40

Updated: Mar 4, 2024 Print
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Police in Taizhou, East China's Zhejiang province, have cracked a major cross-provincial online gambling operation organized through WeChat groups, arresting over 40 suspects.

The case involved an estimated 1 billion yuan ($139 million) and nearly 1,000 participants from across the country, authorities said. A large number of computers, mobile phones, bank cards and luxury cars were seized during the investigation.

The operation used a traditional gambling method called "Na Liuming," which involves betting on the outcome of drawing divination sticks. The suspects, led by a 39-year-old man surnamed Ma, set up online gambling groups on WeChat and livestreamed the games from locations in Sichuan and Hubei provinces.

Participants placed bets and settled their accounts through online transfers, making the operation accessible anytime and anywhere, according to Li Jun, a police officer.

After receiving a tip in August last year, police formed a task force and identified Ma as the ringleader. He and his associates are accused of making over 40 million yuan in profits in the first half of 2023 and using the money to purchase luxury goods.

As of Feb 20, Ma and 21 other suspects were detained. The case is under further investigation.

According to China's Supreme People's Procuratorate, some 16,000 individuals were prosecuted for online gambling offenses from January to November 2023.

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