China / Society

Villagers gamble big on dog hunting

( Updated: 2014-11-03 17:13

Dog hunting has become a new popular form of gambling in some rural areas of north China, following horse racing, cockfighting and cricket fighting, the Economic Information News of the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.

At a village bordering Jinghai county of Tianjian and Heibei province in north China, four light trucks loaded with about 30 slim hunting dogs were seen and more than 100 villagers were involved in gambling.

The gambling rules call for two hunting dogs to compete in a race by chasing a rabbit set free 100 meters away from the starting point. Winners were those who bet on the dog that caught the rabbit first. The total sum of gambling money on a dog must be more than 5,000 yuan ($813) per race and each gambler funded from hundreds to thousands of yuan.

Gambling as such is organized in a systematic way with clear-cut division of labor. The organizer and "banker", who draws the dividends from gambling, picks a site and summons gamblers. Sentries are paid 100 yuan a day to guard the way between the police station and the village entrance to the gambling site. They form a triple or quadruple line of defense. Designated drivers to transport gamblers and delivery men in charge of meals are also arranged. It generally costs a total of around 1,500 yuan per day for the organizer making such arrangements.

The report quoted the police as saying that the gamblers tended to be diverse in age, gender and identity. More women and age groups, even primary students, were involved in gambling.

Villagers immersed in gambling were likely to be heavily in debt and got into fights or committed crimes such as robbery and homicide after losing large amount of money, said Qu Yongfa, head of the General Administration of Public Security in Northeast China's Jilin province. Some villagers, even some excellent professional farmers, were plunged back into poverty after gambling.

Gambling is prohibited on the Chinese mainland according to the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, but only a few people get punished under the related articles. In legal practice, the current articles have loopholes and lack effective punishment that make it difficult to prosecute gamblers.

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