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Online soccer bookie sent down for gambling
By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-09-29 06:00

The organizer of an illegal online football gambling site has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison by the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court, it was announced yesterday.

Gu Lianbao, 43, was also fined 30,000 yuan (US$3,700) as part of the sentence handed down on September 20. Far harsher punishment could have been imposed had Gu not admitted his guilt and co-operated with prosecutors, court sources said.

According to court records, the bookie's website handled 600 million yuan (US$74 million), and is believed to have been the largest online betting operation in Beijing.

Police swooped last December after the Ministry of Public Security started to crack down on online betting.

Gu was searching gambling websites at home in Beijing when police arrived.

Seized at the scene were about 150,000 yuan (US$18,500) in cash, a bank deposit book with a balance of 210,000 yuan (US$25,900) and a bank card worth 60,000 yuan (US$7,400).

Gu acted as the banker for the website from June to December last year as an agent for a Taiwan-based gambling company.

"Gu was unable to count how many people had entrusted him to participate in online gambling," the court judgment said.

The court judgement confirmed the original ruling by the Beijing Xicheng District People's Court last month. It is the final judgement, according to Chinese law.

(China Daily 09/29/2005 page2)

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