Chinese Police Seize $1.5 Million Worth in Cryptos During FIFA Gambling Crackdown

In the city of Guangdong, the police have arrested hundreds of individuals involved in online gambling platforms that facilitated betting with $1.5 billion in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin.

An operation involving 21 public security authorities has cracked down on organized football gambling during the ongoing football World Cup, resulting in the arrests of some 540 individuals suspected of organizing online gambling rings. Gambling is illegal under Chinese law and the very act of participating in online gambling or facilitating/opening a gambling platform brings criminal liabilities.

Chinese state-run media outlet Xinhua reported on July 11 that authorities first noticed the unnamed gambling platform in May following advertisements that claimed it would “accept international recognized cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether, and litecoin” in order to draw in users. An investigation soon followed.

The platform that supported the gambling involved betting in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Local police found that many gangs took advantage of the social platform during the World Cup. The Deputy Governor, Li Chunsheng, also the Director of the Public Security Bureau, demanded the criminal gangs to be tracked and arrested and also to safeguard people’s property.

In the 8 months since its launch, the gambling platform attracted over 330,000 members. The Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department narrowed down on a specific unnamed online gambling platform that facilitated over RMB 10 billion ($1.5 billion) in cryptocurrency betting. Now, authorities have arrested six organizers of the site and confiscated $1.5 million worth of cryptocurrencies as well as $750,000 in renminbi deposits from their bank accounts.

In a public service announcement Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department’s network police corps said:

“The public security organs will continue to maintain a high pressure on the online gambling. At the same time, it is an illegal and criminal act to open a gambling platform and participate in online gambling. Please ask the fans to watch the ball rationally and consciously resist gambling crimes.”

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