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China Jails 20 in Online Gambling Case

16/2/2009
Twenty defendants have been given sentences ranging from one to six years by a Shanghai court yesterday in a crackdown on those breaking online gambling laws in the country.

The 20 accused were said to have stakes exceeding 6.6 billion yuan (US$877 million) and have earned profits of more than 1.6 million yuan in illegal soccer bets starting from the World Cup in Germany in August 2006 reaching until May 2008.

Zhang Minxian, a spokesman for the court said, "This is possibly the country's biggest online gambling case."

The 41-year-old leader of the syndicate, Qian Boachun, was sentenced to six years in prison as well as ordered to pay a 5 million yuan fine, with the 19 other defendants being given various prison sentences.

This case has acted as a warning for other gamblers that you cannot break China’s online gambling ban and go unnoticed.

The main players in the case set up accounts on various gambling websites in order to create a ring of agents and gamblers. They were receiving monthly payouts from each of the illegal accounts and introduced more people to help them run the illegal operation.

China is fast proving to be a nation of heavy internet users, with their 180 million users surpassing the 163 million in the US. With so many people it can be extremely difficult to regulate the ban on internet gambling, however with this high-profile case of prison sentences, any would-be gamblers are bound to be put off. While legalizing and regulating the industry is an option, it is unlikely to happen any time soon.

Kayley Almond
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