China Issues Warning And Asks Cross-Border Gambling Suspects To Surrender Quickly
- A Foreign Ministry spokesman said cross-border gambling suspects must turn themselves in quickly
- The warning comes following the recent arrest of Chinese businessman She Zhijiang in Thailand
- Authorities will continue to hunt down cross-border gambling criminals and enforce harsh penalties
China has reiterated its stance against cross-border gambling, saying it will leave no stone unturned until every Chinese citizen suspected of engaging in the activity is brought to justice.
In a media briefing this week, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin urged cross-border gambling suspects to surrender to the authorities to avoid “harsh punishment“.
Chinese Fugitive Arrested in Thailand
The warning comes following last week’s arrest of fugitive She Zhijiang in Thailand. The Chinese businessman is accused of running illegal online gambling operations and has been on the run for almost a decade. The gambling kingpin was captured under an Interpol red notice and will be extradited to China to face charges for his involvement in illegal online gambling, according to media reports.
Online gambling operations targeting Chinese nationals, including those operating overseas, is illegal in China. Authorities have been hunting down individuals involved in such operations and those who help facilitate the activity. The extensive crackdown has so far resulted in several large-scale cross-border gambling groups being broken up, with thousands of suspected cross-border gamblers also blocked from leaving the country.
Answering questions from the media about Mr. She, Mr. Wang said illegal gambling allegations against the Chinese businessman are backed by irrefutable evidence.
Mr. She, who also holds a Cambodian passport, sits as chairman of Yatai International Holdings Group which is currently involved in the development of a US$15 billion tourism complex in Myanmar which will become home to a land-based casino.
He is accused of running illegal cross-border gambling operations across Southeast Asia and was also convicted in 2014 of operating an illegal lottery business in the Philippines. He has not returned to his home country ever since and has been on China’s wanted list for nearly 10 years.
Surrender Now or Face Harsh Punishment
China began to intensify its crackdown on cross-border gambling a few years ago. In December 2020, Chinese lawmakers approved an amendment to the country’s criminal code to criminalize individuals who organize mainland Chinese citizens to gamble.
Mr. Wang said they will continue their fight against cross-border gambling and chase criminals wherever they are, adding that China will coordinate with law enforcement in relevant jurisdictions to arrest the suspects.
Wang’s message to Chinese fugitives is clear – they must return to China and turn themselves in quickly if they want to be given lenient treatment. Else, they would be subject to “harsh punishment”.