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Police Inflict Heavy Blow on Soccer Gambling
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Police in both Beijing and south China's Guangdong Province have dealt soccer gambling rings a crushing blow.


The Beijing municipal public security bureau caught the general agent of an overseas gambling company on the Chinese mainland.


So far, Beijing police have cracked down on four criminal gangs and caught 24 suspects that organized online World Cup gambling parties, said the bureau in a news release.


Guo, only known by his surname, is the highest-level agent of an overseas gambling company on the Chinese mainland. He has developed three levels of agents under him since 2003.


Evidence showed that a third-class agent under him conducted 3,328 deals during January and February this year, involving 108 million yuan (US$13.5 million) in bets.


The agents received frequent bets on World Cup games.


Police found evidence on a seized computer that shows that more than 17 million yuan (US$2.1 million) were bet on the games in June.


Guo confessed to police that he began to organize online gambling parties in 2003 with online gambling management platforms provided by an overseas company.


They did not take bets from strangers, but rather, from relatives and friends, police officer Jin Xiang was quoted by Beijing Youth Daily as saying.


Agents earned money from bets received by lower-level agents, Jin said.


With the final game yet to come, the police will keep a close eye on the Internet around the clock to crack down on gambling gangs.


Meanwhile, Guangdong police announced that they had detained about 100 suspects after busting several large soccer-betting gangs in major cities in the Pearl River Delta since the beginning of July.


The suspects include nine residents from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.


More than 2.38 million yuan (US$297,500) in betting chips, as well as many computers, sedan cars, credit cards and other betting equipment were seized, according to a police officer from Guangdong provincial bureau of public security on Friday.


"The July crackdown has dealt a heavy blow to the province's illegal soccer betting events, which had been active in Guangdong since the World Cup opened in early June," said police officer Tan Jin.


The crackdown has helped consolidate Guangdong's great achievements in fighting underground soccer gambling while demonstrating the police's determination to fight the illegal activity, Tan added.


Guangdong police have expanded their cooperation with their counterparts in bordering Hong Kong and Macao to fight illegal soccer betting in recent months.


Forty-three soccer gamblers, including three Taiwan residents, were detained in Shenzhen in an operation including 156 police officers on July 5.


More than 1.3 million yuan (US$162,500) plus 150,000 Hong Kong dollars (US$19,280) in betting chips was seized in two secret locations in the southern metropolis.


Another 5.7 million yuan (US$712,500) was frozen in a bank account.


Police also confiscated 29 computers and five sedan cars during the operation.


Meanwhile, police from the city of Dongguan also detained two Taiwan residents and seized a number of credit cards in an operation on the same day.


Dongguan police are believed to have busted a large soccer betting gang that was once run by Taiwan residents and used to be active in the city.


On July 4, Foshan police smashed another large soccer betting gang, detaining 33 suspects.


A total of 265 police officers participated in the special operation.


Cash to the value of 650,000 yuan (US$81,250), 35 computers and numerous credit cards were seized at the sites.


Police also froze a bank account holding more than 6 million yuan (US$750,000).


In another operation in Zhuhai on July 2, police detained six suspects, including four from overseas, after a large soccer betting gang was busted. The gang started operating in the city last September.


More than 430,000 yuan (US$53,750), 20 credit cards and a large number of betting bills were seized in the operation.


(China Daily July 8, 2006)


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