An investigation in China has led to the arrest of 93 people in connection with an illegal gambling ring worth $5.6 billion. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
It is reported that the Chinese authorities have cracked down on a huge and famous criminal syndicate in Hunan Province.
$5.6 billion in revenue laundered through cryptocurrency
The group operated an illegal gambling network and several telecom frauds, the revenue of which was laundered $5.6 billion through cryptocurrencies. According to a Chinese media source, Weixin, 93 people were arrested as part of a 100-day crackdown on crime on the mainland. Police also froze various accounts holding a total of 300 million yen ($41.4 million).
In addition, the authorities recovered 7.8 million Japanese yen ($1.1 million) returned to victims of the scams. These victims will get their money back, even if they lose it through gambling, which is a crime ubiquitous in mainland China.
More Chinese gambling arrests coming?
Both the number of arrests and the staggering numbers on hand raised suspicions that more criminals would be arrested. Even law enforcement is still not sure how extensive the illegal network will be.
An investigation into the criminal conglomerate began in 2018. The police determined that the group had used collection and payment points in China to transfer illegally obtained funds into cryptocurrencies. From there, they cashed in US dollars, and then put that money into the financial companies.
One possible explanation for the rise in illegal gambling is the travel restrictions imposed by China, which have delayed the recovery in the Southeast Asian market. Macau, a leisure destination in southern China, has faced the brunt of the ruins.
In Shanghai, more than 800 people have been arrested for illegal online gambling
Since potential gamblers are not allowed to visit the prominent destination of China, they resort to illegally gaining access to internet operators. In Shanghai, more than 800 people have been arrested for illegal online gambling since the beginning of the year.
More than 150 entities providing gambling or money laundering services were also closed during the same period. As a result, a total of 170 million yen ($23.53 million) was recovered.
Chinese aversion to cryptocurrency
Blue Well FinanceAnother Chinese outlet reported that popular crypto hub Binance is supporting an investigation. Tracking wallets of users is difficult due to their anonymity, but forensic investigators have the ability to reveal users’ locations.
Binance has also sent notifications to several account holders that their wallets have been frozen and that they will need to contact the Chinese authorities for more details.
It sees currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum as a scam, which led to a ban last September
China is fiercely opposed to crypto providers such as Binance and only recognizes digital currency from its central bank. It sees currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum as a scam, which led to a ban last September on both cryptocurrency trading and mining.
The main reason why the Chinese government is against cryptocurrency is the latest Introducing yuan online, which can be fully regulated, unlike regular decentralized cryptocurrencies. China has contemplated the idea of extending the practice to Macau, but there are concerns that illegal Chinese gambling could rise even further.
As evidence, a famous Macau gambling chief was arrested in 2021 on charges of illegal gambling and money laundering, leading to his appearance in court less than two weeks ago. The man in question, Alvin Chao, denied the accusations.