Shanghai police have busted an illegal Internet gambling ring that handled more than 70 billion yuan ($11.2 billion) in wagers since January, an Internet crimes investigator said at a press conference Thursday.
It was the biggest online gambling operation that police in China have ever busted. Police arrested more than 50 suspects, confiscated more than 3 million yuan in cash and froze 10 million yuan of clients' money in July, following a three-month investigation into the operation, said Qu Weifang, chief engineer of the Shanghai Cyber Police, a division that focuses on Internet crime.
The ring profited by working with overseas gambling websites and helping domestic Internet users to wager on soccer games and online table games. "The ring has had a very bad effect on society. We have found office workers and university students who have gambled away all of their money, and even their parents' apartments," Qu said at the press conference.
The Shanghai Cyber Police assigned a special team to investigate the ring in April, Qu said. Investigators caught a break in the case when they noticed a major figure in the gang surnamed Shou was frequently visiting an overseas website. "We found that the ring was using that website to manage its accounts. They had connections with more than 20 overseas gambling websites," Qu said.
The ring purchased gambling software from abroad that its clients used to bet on European soccer games, including UEFA Champions League matches.
Most of the overseas websites were based in Southeast Asia and run by ethnic Chinese, Qu said.
Since August, Shanghai Cyber Police have been running a campaign to crack down on Internet crime. They have solved 954 cases and arrested 1,788 suspects, said Cao Zhongping, director of the Shanghai Cyber Police.
Cao said that the division has officers who patrol online to remove false information. "We will ask people to delete false information if what they say does not violate the law, but we will act if we find a piece of false information that has caused a serious problem," Cao told the Global Times.
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