December 27, 2007 / 4:21 PM / 12 years ago

Student wins lottery, leaves school

BEIJING (Reuters) - A college student withdrew from school after winning the 5 million yuan ($683,000) jackpot in a lottery in China’ eastern city of Nanjing, local media reported on Thursday.

The second-year student at the Jiangsu Maritime Institute, identified by the nickname Yong to protect his identity, was the sole first-prize winner in the “Double Colour Ball” issued by the China Welfare Lottery on Tuesday, the Beijing News said.

“After winning the lottery, Yong told his roommates that he would share 2,000 yuan with each of them,” it added.

Yong informed school authorities of his winnings, and had returned home.

“We are not sure if he will return to school, but we hope he will eventually finish his education,” the paper quoted Yong’s teacher as saying.

The Communist Party abolished lotteries in China after taking power in 1949, denouncing them as a practice of decadent capitalists. But the country launched state-run lotteries in 1987 amid market-oriented reforms.

Lotteries have become increasingly popular both among the poor and the newly rich in China, where many forms of gambling are banned. Per capita income in China’s urban areas is roughly $1,900 a year and about $600 a year in rural areas.

Lottery-related crimes have been on the rise as well, and underground lottery schemes have become rampant across the country in recent years, bankrupting many families.

Last month, China set up its first help centre for lottery addicts, offering counseling and legal assistance.

Reporting by Beijing newsroom, Editing by Ken Wills and Sanjeev Miglani

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