BEIJING: Chinese police have arrested more than 810 online football gamblers during the World Cup period as the Ministry of Public Security cracks down on domestic and foreign online gambling organizations.
Among the arrested, 65 were from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, as well as from other countries including the Philippines, Malaysia, according to a briefing released Thursday by the ministry.
"After the 2010 World Cup in South Africa started, local police have struck out against online football gambling so to prevent gambling groups taking advantage of the event to expand business," said Gu Jian, a senior official with the ministry's online security bureau.
Figures from the ministry show that from June 11 to July 5, Chinese police departments at all levels across the country have broken up more than 600 online football gambling groups, with gambling funds worth some 50 million yuan ($7.3 million) seized.
Gu said one of the features of the current online gambling crackdown was that police were focused on a series of major cases involving guns, drugs and organized crime.
In one prominent case, 58 people were arrested in Shanghai July 3 for recruiting gamblers through foreign gambling websites and taking part in online football gambling.
According to the ministry, money gambled in the case totaled more than 300 million yuan.
Two guns and drugs were seized from the suspects, along with gambling money worth 3 million yuan.
In late June, Vice Minister Huang Ming said gambling and drugs were still rampant in some areas, causing much public complaint.
"In some places, these crimes have even been conducted in broad daylight," he said.
More than 900 cases of online gambling cases had been solved as of July 5 during a campaign that started in February, said the ministry.
Among some 4,400 suspects that had been detained in these cases, 245 came from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore among other countries and regions.