Police across China crack down on illegal online gambling cases amid ongoing Euro 2024
Published: Jul 03, 2024 05:51 PM
Photo: Qingbaijiang police in Southwest China's Sichuan Province

Photo: Qingbaijiang police in Southwest China's Sichuan Province

While Chinese fans are enjoying the heavyweight football tournaments in recent weeks, police across China have disrupted multiple cases of illegal online gambling related to the UEFA European Championship (Euro 2024), with some unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of the tournament to engage in gambling activities under the guise of sports events.

According to a press release from Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau sent to the Global Times on Wednesday, Beijing police dismantled three online gambling gangs on June 26, apprehending 21 suspects involved in operating casinos and seizing electronic devices, ledgers, bank cards, and other gambling-related items.

The police in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, also arrested two suspects on June 27 with a gang involved in betting for more than 400,000 yuan ($54,994), according to a release by the Qingbaijiang police in Chengdu on Tuesday.

The suspect surnamed Liu registered as an agent in the offshore "football betting" website, hired another suspect surnamed Song and others to invite their friends to join a WeChat group, sent the relevant odds to the group, and collected the gambling money from gamblers betting on Euro 2024.

Of the two suspects, criminal coercive measures were taken against one in accordance with the law, and the other has been given administrative penalties. Liu was identified as an online fugitive, and the case is currently under further investigation.

According to media reports on Tuesday, a man in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang Province, saw a "betting advertisement" on his WeChat Moments offering discounts for purchases during the Euro 2024, and he then contacted the person, downloaded the required app, and placed a bet of 10,000 yuan. However, when he won the bet at the end of the game and tried to withdraw the cash, he discovered that withdrawals were not possible and he couldn't reach the person anymore.

Fraudsters typically create fake betting site links that closely resemble the official Euro 2024 website, claiming them to be official designated betting site to gain trust, according to an update from Shanghai government on Tuesday. Scammers will then manipulate the system to ensure initial small wins, but once the stakes are raised, the site's backend will shut down, making it impossible to retrieve the invested money.

Some fraudsters have also forged and widely distributed text messages, claiming to be sent by the official Euro 2024 website, stating that you have won a prize and can click on the link to receive the reward. If people click on the link, they will ask you to transfer money to a designated account under the pretext of paying taxes or fees, or directly implant a "virus" to steal personal information from the user's phone.

According to the introduction, scammers may send text messages claiming to have an internal method for "100 percent accurate game predictions," luring individuals to contact them and charging high prediction fees or assisting with betting. If the fees are transferred to the specified account, the scammers will then block the individual. 

They will also create fake Euro 2024 website to sell counterfeit commemorative items, and then immediately block buyers once they receive the money.

Beijing police have advised the public to be cautious when it comes to online gambling, watch games rationally, resist temptations, avoid participating in such activities, and pay attention to the protection of personal privacy.

Global Times