China Plans Further Crackdown on Gambling After Arrest of Fugitive

Posted on: August 18, 2022, 07:14h. 

Last updated on: August 18, 2022, 11:06h.

The Chinese government’s long-standing public show of animosity toward gambling is well-known. However, it’s going to increase its hunt for lawbreakers following the recent arrest in Thailand of a man they have spent 10 years wanting to capture.

China’s Xi Jinping
China’s Xi Jinping, speaking by video at a political forum in November. The country wants to intensify its anti-gambling stance. (Image: Associated Press)

China prohibits gambling in the country, and would prefer that its citizens not gamble outside the country, either. It has repeatedly used its influence, mostly with Asia Pacific countries, to change foreign gaming laws or receive foreign police support in its crackdowns.

The efforts aren’t always successful. However, China is using the recent high-profile arrest of She Zhijiang in Thailand to launch a new campaign against gambling.

Turn Yourselves In, Or Else

She is the alleged mastermind behind a number of illegal gambling operations, according to China. His arrest is giving the country renewed energy to target the gambling sector. During a media session this past Tuesday, Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made it clear that a crackdown is coming.

Wang made an open statement to anyone involved in illegal gambling, warning them that China will find them. He said that anyone involved in cross-border gambling of any type needs to turn themselves in. If they don’t, they face severe punishment once law enforcement catches up with them.

No matter what corner of the world a criminal suspect runs to, China will initiate law-enforcement cooperation with the relevant countries in order to bring the suspect to justice. We warn the cross-border gambling crime suspects to stop their criminal acts, to return to the country and turn themselves in so that they can still be granted lenient treatment,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

China has been responsible for getting the Philippines and other countries to change how they view gambling. It has ramped-up its efforts since last year, when a new law redefined punishments for gambling-related activity.

Since then, different government agencies have dedicated more resources to China’s anti-gambling stance. They are all involved in the hunt for those the country accuses of participating in cross-border gambling.

Fight for Control of China

Police in Thailand arrested She only a week ago. Although it normally takes months for an extradition order to clear in the country, Thailand appears ready to hand him over to China within the next week or two.

She allegedly set up a number of online gambling sites in China that attracted over 300,000 users. However, the chairman of Hong Kong-based Yatai Group also established other operations in Myanmar, Cambodia, and other countries.

These, according to authorities, were fronts for illegal gambling and human trafficking. She faces at least 10 years in a Chinese prison for his crimes.

However, not everyone believes that the information China presents is completely factual. The arrest of Suncity Group founder and former chairman Alvin Chau in Macau last year may have been a precursor to She’s arrest.

Political commentator and scholar Professor Yuan Hongbing has a theory. The dissident and former head of the Beijing University criminal law department once told Epoch Times that Chau was the “white glove” of a faction within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) looking to oust Chinese ruler Xi Jinping.

On the other hand, She was Chau’s counterpart of another CCP faction that supports Xi. The arrest of both men appears, therefore, nothing more than a power struggle for control of the government.