Hundreds arrested in Chinese crackdown on Euro 2016 betting

© China Newsphoto
More than 500 people have been arrested and more than $14 million seized in China for illegal football betting on Euro 2016.

The money was confiscated or frozen in cases involving overseas betting websites, according to the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).

A major online betting syndicate is believed to have been broken up following simultaneous raids across five cities, which resulted in 543 suspects being detained.

Euro 2016 has now reached the semi-final stage, with France, Germany, Portugal and Wales left in the competition, which started with 24 teams.

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The Jufeng-10 operation targeted betting agents in Foshan, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shantou.

Liang Ruiguo, deputy director of the criminal investigation bureau of the MPS, said: "The soccer betting gang has attracted large sums of wages since Euro 2016 kicked off on June 10.

"Special efforts will be made to crack down on gambling fans, bankers, key members and beneficiaries."

Gambling is illegal in China, and investigations into suspected online gambling have intensified since April.

Internet censorship in China means that some international betting sites provide more obscure mirror websites for their Chinese punters to access and bet from.

Betting companies have recruited agents from China, who are in turn attracting customers from the country.

Cracking down on online gambling is becoming a regular task for Chinese police and is a long-standing problem.

Technology companies Alibaba and Tencent already have anti-gambling systems in place to spot illegal behavior over their platforms, such as WeChat.

In 2005 nearly 600 people were arrested as part of a crackdown on gambling, including a man who ran a syndicate which took bets on football matches in the English Premier League and Italy's Serie A.


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