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Gambling suspects repatriated from Philippines

By Yang Zekun | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-24 07:58
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Law enforcement authorities from China and the Philippines on Thursday repatriated over 40 Chinese citizens engaged in offshore gambling activities in the Philippines, according to a statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines on Friday.

This action follows a repatriation operation conducted December, when another 180 Chinese citizens engaged in offshore gambling activities in the Philippines were repatriated after being captured amid a local operation in October.

The statement noted that since last year, law enforcement authorities in the Philippines have organized multiple joint law enforcement operations, resulting in the apprehension of a large number of offshore gambling practitioners.

In response to requests from the Philippines, the Chinese Embassy actively provided assistance, facilitating the smooth repatriation of multiple batches of individuals, it said.

The Chinese government has consistently opposed all forms of gambling and discourages Chinese citizens from engaging in gambling activities abroad, it said.

The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines pledged to maintain communication with the Philippines regarding criminal issues arising from offshore gambling, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, and support law enforcement cooperation between the countries.

In another development, police in Sichuan province announced a crackdown on a cross-border online gambling operation, arresting 93 suspects and seizing over 20 million yuan ($2.8 million) in illicit funds. Fifty suspects have been charged with running illegal casinos.

Targeting Chinese gamblers, the group operated a platform in the Philippines and boasted nearly one million registered members in China, with illegal transactions exceeding 725 billion yuan.

The gambling network, comprising over 300 individuals, recruited Chinese nationals for various roles with promised high salaries. Many were lured by the financial incentives and actively promoted the operation.

The key figures were captured across 20 provinces in June, when they returned to China for vacation.

In October, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines noted that the two countries' law enforcement departments have maintained good communication and coordination in recent years, jointly launching severe crackdowns on cross-border gambling and telecom fraud, and achieving a series of cooperative results.

The spokesperson's statement said that China is willing to fully cooperate with the Philippines in addressing these issues to ensure that the results of law enforcement cooperation are fully implemented.

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