Chinese Students Arrested for Promoting Illegal Gambling, Allegations Point to School Involvement

Posted on: September 15, 2023, 06:53h. 

Last updated on: September 15, 2023, 06:38h.

Several Chinese students were sentenced in court this week after previous charges of promoting gambling in the Philippines. The students claimed that they were set up by the school to participate in the illegal program.

Chinese police stand guard outside a courthouse
Chinese police stand guard outside a courthouse before a court hearing this week where students face jail time for promoting gambling through a school program. (Image: Reuters)

In 2021, law enforcement apprehended several individuals linked to the Changde Cruise Attendants Vocational School in Xinyang, China’s Henan province. The arrested students were charged with promoting a cross-border gambling enterprise but remained free on bail until they had to appear in court for sentencing.

They remained free on bail until their court appearance this week.

During the hearing, the court sentenced two of the students to a minimum of eight months. They faced as much as a year in jail. They were found guilty of marketing gambling activities at an unidentified Philippines casino.

Tthe students claim that the school arranged for their participation in a program that involved working for a Filipino company to advertise its video games. They claim they unknowingly promote an illegal gambling operation. Several students from the same school have traveled to the Philippines as part of this program, with similar legal consequences.

Principal Argues Innocence

Deng Guangzhou, the school’s principal, has asserted that he did not know the illegal nature of the program. A firm in Shenzhen in the Guangdong province set up the scheme, according to Deng, who added that he thought it was a legitimate work opportunity.

He acknowledged that the students had to pay for their own tuition, fees, and a travel visa totaling around CNY10,500 (US$1,442), but stated the school had no other involvement. The students have testified that they had to pay the school CNY10,000 (US$1,374) to participate in the program.

A lawyer for the students has filed an appeal for the charges.

Latest Sentence in Dozen Arrests

The sentences are the latest involving at least a dozen students at the school who traveled to the Philippines to participate in the program.

In August, a fellow student was found guilty of the same offense. The unnamed individual was sentenced to one year in prison. The unidentified student had also been charged with enticing individuals to gamble. Investigations discovered that he had been employed by a Manila gambling from 2018 to 2020 and was responsible for sourcing players from China to gamble on the site.

The casino allegedly paid him about CNY160,000 (US$22,000).

Last March, a Xinyang court issued a similar eight-month sentence but suspended it for a year, according to the news agency