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China threatens ‘severe punishment’ to gambling promoters

Thu, Mar 30, 2:19pm by Staff Writer

Gambling operators – both online and traditional – have been warned by Chinese authorities that they will be punished severely if they target mainland Chinese gamblers.

News Agency Xinhua – which is state-run – quoted Public Security Minister Guo Shenghkun on, and he said that the authorities “must seriously investigate and severely punish those companies and individuals involved in enticing and organising Chinese tourists to gamble in overseas casinos.”

Last October, 18 Crown Resorts employees were detained for ‘gambling crimes’ said to be the promotion of the Australian operator’s casinos to potential high rollers.

China’s top police officials have reportedly been given orders to devise a plan to combat internationally licenced online gambling operators from having a presence in China.

The enforcement program is called China’s Operation Chain Break and has been operating for two years now. Primarily, it targets illegal cross-border betting and Guo wants results before the Communist Party Congress which takes place later this year.

He also wants greater international cooperation in combatting illegal gambling, including pushing other countries to cooperate with China on ‘fugitive repatriation’.

Interestingly, the call for ‘repatriation’ comes just 24 hours after Australia’s government cancelled a vote on ratifying an extradition treaty with China that was signed 10 years ago.

China’s human rights record was a concern of the Labor Party backbench and was a reason that led to the vote being cancelled but Deputy MP Barnaby Joyce was in favour of the treaty. The latter stating that he didn’t want Australia to be viewed as a safe-haven for Chinese criminals.

Guo’s comments suggest that Beijing is keen to make an example of someone so that could spell trouble for the Crown staff currently detained in Shanghai.

Among those detained are three Australian executives, including Jason O’Connor, who is Crown’s VIP International Executive vice-president.

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