China Targets Illegal Cross-Border Filipino Gambling Websites
- China has targeted the Philippines as it cracks down on cross-border gambling activities
- The authorities arrested 14 people who are allegedly linked to 5 betting websites in the Philippines
- China has so far shut down more than 2,000 sites and made thousands of arrests as part of the cross-border gambling crackdown
Chinese authorities have arrested 14 individuals who are allegedly involved in an illegal online operation. The arrested suspects are reportedly members of a gambling group with links to multiple gambling websites located in the Philippines.
Philippine Websites Accepted Billions in Wagers from Chinese Customers
The latest arrests are linked to five betting websites operating from the Philippines that were primarily targeted at customers from mainland China. Over the past three years, these websites had allegedly attracted an estimated 200,000 Chinese members and had accepted almost CNY10 billion ($1.57 billion) in bets, according to Chen Liquin who works for Dongzhi county’s public security bureau.
The arrests were made in different locations across the country, including the municipality of Chongqing and the provinces of Fujian and Jiangxi. The 14 suspects have been accused of facilitating the operation of illegal gambling websites and taking wagers from Chinese gamblers.
The arrests came as a result of China’s extensive crackdown on cross-border gambling which forms part of a special initiative launched in early March to combat online gambling. The special operation will run for six months and aims to apprehend individuals suspected to be involved in assisting Chinese nationals to engage in gambling activities outside the country.
The crackdown also focuses on shutting down gambling websites and gambling-related mobile applications. The government has also enforced a blacklist system which covers jurisdictions suspected of soliciting gamblers from mainland China, though authorities did not publicly identify the countries included in the blacklist.
Gambling is prohibited in mainland China, and those found to have helped arrange for Chinese residents to engage in cross-border gambling activities could be slapped with a massive fine and sentenced to jail. The only region in the country where gambling is allowed is Macau, but tourists cannot enter without a visa.
China Intensifies Cross-Border Gambling Crackdown
China’s Ministry of Public Security stated in January that the government’s anti-cross-border gambling operations led to the investigation of more than 17,000 cases and more than 80,000 arrests in 2021, with 2,200 online gambling platforms and 1,600 illegal payment systems and banks being dismantled.
The Ministry added that the crackdown, which targets illegal financing networks and money laundering activities carried out by offshore gambling groups, has been successful so far.