China cracks down on cross-border gambling ring, makes nearly 100 arrests: Xinhua

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Police in central China have arrested 94 members of a $72 billion cross-border gambling ring whose activities stretched into Southeast Asia, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday, citing police.

Police in Jincheng city in Shanxi province arrested members of the gang that illegally brought more than 400 gamblers across to Laos and Myanmar to gamble more than 500 billion yuan ($72.28 billion) in wagers, Xinhua said.

The police said they had discovered the ring in 2013 after a murder over unpaid gambling debts. During the recent arrests, the police also rescued eight gamblers who had been detained by the ring in Myanmar.

Chinese citizens, among the world’s most prolific gamblers, often travel overseas to bet as gambling has been outlawed in China since 1949, though a state lottery does operate.

The government has in the past year made a number of arrests accusing people of luring China citizens to gamble overseas.

In October, it arrested 13 South Korean casino managers and several Chinese agents. It also detained 17 employees of Australia’ top casino operator Crown Resorts and then later officially arrested three of them on suspicion of gambling offences.

Reporting By Winni Zhou and Brenda Goh; Editing by Himani Sarkar