Guangdong police foil crypto gambling ring
Chinese police in the southern province of Guangdong have claimed to have broken up a massive illegal Fifa World Cup gambling ring hosting more than Y10bn (£1.1bn/€1.3bn/$1.5bn) in cryptocurrency bets.
The police said that they had arrested six suspects as part of the operation.
The ring was being hosted on the dark web, which is not indexed by traditional search engines, according to the South China Morning Post.
Some 330,000 people registered to place bets on the platform from numerous countries, with the website having operated for eight months. It is also claimed that more than 8,000 ‘agents’ were used to recruit new members through a pyramid scheme to underpin the website and earned commission as a result.
The gambling syndicate “used the loophole that virtual currency is not effectively regulated in our country” to make huge profits, the police said.
The latest news represents the latest development in a huge crackdown on illegal gambling in the country, stemming from last September when the government shut down all local cryptocurrency exchanges and blocked the launch of any initial coin offerings.
The announcement comes just days after more than 40 suspects linked to illegal online gambling were apprehended in Beijing.
Guangdong police claim to have arrested more than 500 suspects from over 20 gambling rings in relation to the World Cup. However, the latest case is the first to exclusively feature cryptocurrencies.
Earlier this month, it emerged that Chinese betting on the World Cup via the country’s Sports Lottery could be worth up to $7.5bn, with billions more set to be wagered via illegal gambling.
Picture credit: Tasnim News