Online Lottery Scam Leaders arrested in China

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Online gambling has been on the rise all over the world. Most countries where gambling is legalized have a very strong presence of online gambling platforms. China is one of the world’s leaders in the gambling market with Macau being labelled as the gambling capital of the world. Most of these countries like China have strong laws and regulations around gambling in order to protect the customer’s interests and guard them against scams and other unethical practices.

On Tuesday, Xinhua- a newsletter operated by the state of China reported that ringleaders of two online lottery scams have been arrested and have been sentenced to life imprisonment. Other minor scam operators have also been arrested and they have been given shorter but equally harsh sentences. This ruling has been passed by the Intermediate People’s Court of the city of Baishan which is in the eastern province of Jilin.

These scam rings had bases of operations in China, (Guangdong province), Indonesia and Fiji. Around 77 members of this scam ring had been repatriated from Fiji during a crackdown in 2017. The scam was operational for about 15 months and operated by contacting unsuspecting targets via online messaging and email platforms such as WeChat and QQ. The messages encouraged the targets or marks to purchase lottery tickets from an online lottery platform that in reality did not exist. About $22 million had been stolen by these lottery scam rings in this manner before the crackdown in July 2017. Apart from the two ringleaders who were given life imprisonment, another 280 members of the operation were arrested and have been given custodial terms ranging from 6 months to 15 years. There were eight members who were lucky enough to be spared from any kind of sentencing due to their minimal level of involvement in the lottery scams.

In similar news, the Anhui police department has arrested around eight individuals who are accused of running an online casino scam that earned around  RMB 100 million from over 500 registered gamblers. The crackdown followed a tip-off given in July by a disgruntled customer who had lost around RMB 135 thousand in the preceding two months. Chinese gamblers really have a few legal options at their disposal as far as the mainland is concerned. There are only welfare and sports lotteries that are organized which are also being slowly removed from online platforms.

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