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Shanghai Authorities Detain 17 for Soccer Gambling
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Municipal authorities have detained 17 people on suspicion of illegal gambling on football matches, including during the recently concluded World Cup.

Police said yesterday that they cracked down on the local gambling ring earlier this month, seizing cash of more than 17 million yuan (US$2.1 million) and 1 million Hong Kong dollars (US$129,000), and equipment used for online gambling.

It's estimated that the ring handled more than 1 billion yuan (US$125 million) in unlawful bets during the one-month World Cup tournament in Germany alone.

Police in Luwan District were alerted in May when people began frequenting an apartment located on a busy street.

Initial investigation found that the two tenants of the apartment, identified as Ren and Liu, were unemployed and not related.

Liu was seen meeting the same group of people every day and handing over a large sum of cash. Ren traveled frequently between Shanghai and Macao, a gaming centre.

After one-month investigation, police found that Ren, 37, who claimed to be the head of an entertainment company, was the top agent for an overseas football gambling network.

He supervised about a dozen second-level agents, who in turn obtained commission from bets before they handed over the money collected from illegal gambling.

The ring also employed "accountants" and "traders."

Fully prepared, the police raided several residences on July 4, seizing cash, computers and three sedans used for illegal activities.

Ren and Liu have confessed to organizing illegal football gambling through the network.

(China Daily July 25, 2006)

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