A Hong Kong man, found guilty of running a number of illegal online casinos, has been jailed for eight years and fined $2.9 million in what is believed to be the biggest case of its kind in China.
The case involved about 8.68 billion yuan ($1.27 billion) in wagered money and more than 278 million yuan in illegal profits, Xinhua news agency said, quoting a source with the Yunnan High People's Court.
Tam Chi-wai, a Hong Kong resident, set up a gambling house in Myanmar, neighbouring Yunnan province, in 1999 and started to develop an online betting network, Xinhua news agency said.
One of the websites attracted 5,198 registered users from August 2006 to March 2007.
"More than 3,000 people used to work for Tam's gambling network," Xinhua said. "Some employees managed websites while others took charge of maintaining the betting network. Other members held hundreds of different bank accounts to hide illicit earnings."
In June, the Intermediate People's Court in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, gave Tam an eight-year jail term and a 20-million-yuan fine. It was upheld on Tuesday on appeal.