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WeChat gambling crimes exposed, targeted by police

(People's Daily Online)    17:09, January 03, 2017

Recently, Beijing Morning Post highlighted the secret gambling industry concealed within WeChat groups, wherein members of the public are often cheated out of money through the use of special software.

Chen Xiang, one such player, disclosed to media that he was invited into several WeChat groups in which people take turns claiming and distributing red envelopes, feverishly betting on their luck. He once lost 2,000 RMB ($288) within 90 minutes, and gambled away his entire monthly salary soon after.

“It is horrible! Once you win, you want more; once you lose, you cannot stop. And then you lose even more,” explained one player.

According to the report, it is hard to win money in such gambling forums, as special software is often employed to ensure bankers' profits, and cheaters often abruptly vanish with large sums of money.

In July 2015, police in Taizhou, Zhejiang province cracked China’s first major WeChat gambling case, involving more than 300 people from over 10 provinces and cities in China. Money involved in the case surpassed 10 million RMB ($1.4 billion).

Gambling on WeChat is a criminal offense, and those guilty of the crime will be investigated according to the law, Beijing police emphasized, adding that they will fight against the phenomenon to the full extent of their capability. Meanwhile, the public is advised to conscientiously resist WeChat gambling, and report relevant clues to the police.

WeChat responded that they will deal with criminal conduct uncompromisingly by limiting group functions and suspending accounts that offer illegal gambling.

Wu Lihong, a lawyer at Beijing Kangpu Law Firm, noted that it's hard to crack down on criminal conduct such as online gambling since it is a virtual crime, simultaneously widespread and concealed. Wu recommended that investigative organs pay close attention to electronic evidence, and that both organizers and players be severely punished. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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