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Gambling crackdown working, needs strengthening

By Yang Zekun | | Updated: 2023-05-31 22:21
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Police have dealt with 10,000 cases of gambling and 75,000 public security administrative cases in rural areas, and confiscated 740 million yuan ($104 million) in funds involved as part of a nationwide operation, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

In November 2022, the ministry launched an operation targeting gambling in rural areas. As a result of the crackdown over the past six months, gambling in rural areas has been somewhat contained, and the number of reports received related to gambling has decreased by 23.1 percent, according to the ministry.

Qi Xiguo, an official from the Public Security Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, said that both the organizers and participants in gambling in rural areas are often local offenders and the unemployed, and have accounted for about 60 percent of the cases handled so far.

Gambling gangs set up mobile casinos in rural areas with a clear division of labor between site selection, debt collection and guard duty. They are often set up in remote mountain areas, abandoned factories, on farms and in interprovincial, intercity, and intercounty border zones subject to weaker supervision, Qi said.

During the operation, nearly a quarter of the criminal cases were related to moving casinos across counties and districts.

"There are around a hundred forms of gambling in rural areas. In recent years, online gambling has also become popular in rural areas, as it more widely available and is more attractive," he said.

In addition, casinos create problems like competition over customers, gambling disputes, and the collection of debts, which often leads to underworld involvement and security issues.

To keep abreast of gambling trends, the ministry has created a monitoring mechanism, setting up regular monitoring stations in 101 districts and counties across the country.

Qi said that as gambling continues and there is still the risk of a rebound, public security organs will make full use of the monitoring mechanism to push forward comprehensive governance in rural areas.

"We will explore loopholes and weak links in rural governance, and improve the public security system and the ability to control criminal activities, including gambling," he said.

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