Posted on: February 8, 2021, 11:31h. Last updated on: February 8, 2021, 11:31h. China is continuing its crusade to stop its citizens from traveling abroad to gamble. Two parliamentary police officers stand on a road in Beijing in 2019. China is directing law enforcement to infiltrate foreign casino groups that seek to lure Chinese high rollers to casinos based internationally. (Image: Getty)Last week, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced that it has directed its law enforcement agencies to infiltrate gambling networks outside the People’s Republic targeting mainland residents. Lioa Jinrong, director of the international cooperation department at the ministry, says 35,000 Chinese people are already facing charges of cross-border gambling.The Public Security office is urging China residents who have engaged in “cross-border gambling crimes” to turn themselves in by April 30. Those who adhere the call will be afforded legal immunity if they assist in the wider ongoing investigation into the offshore gambling syndicates the agency seeks to dismantle.GGRAsia was first to report the ministry’s plea.Gaming analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein said the operation is focused on international casinos marketing to Chinese people. It isn’t thought at this time to involve Macau casinos. Macau is one of two Special Administrative Regions in China.China Seeks Full CrackdownChina announced last year that it would embark on a major effort to hinder money from flowing outside the mainland to foreign casinos. The Ministry of Public Security said in October that it estimates around $150 billion was moved out of the country for gambling purposes in 2020 alone.China President Xi Jinping says such a large amount of Chinese money being gambled internationally is a threat to its national security.Our goal is to completely paralyze the soliciting networks by the gambling groups working outside our country that targeted our people, and we will not give up until we achieve our goal,” Liao said at a briefing last Friday.Liao revealed that law enforcement is currently investigating numerous groups that have allegedly marketed gambling trips to Chinese people. He added that the “backers and investors” of the gaming ops are also being sought.Effective March 1, China’s Criminal Code will include much harsher penalties for those found guilty of organizing overseas gambling trips. Prison time will range up to 10 years for the most serious violators.Macau CooperationWhile China isn’t seeking to limit its people from visiting Macau, the People’s Republic government wants to limit foreign entities in the gaming enclave from poaching high rollers to other casino markets throughout Asia.“The extent of direct impact on Macau is that China does not want Macau used as a hub for illegal activity with criminal elements targeting Chinese visitors in Macau to go overseas or sign up for illegal online gambling applications,” added the note from Bernstein. “As a result, Macau will cooperate with the China authorities most certainly to crack down on any such potential activity.”China’s high rollers are the most coveted VIPs throughout all of Asia. Multibillion-dollar casino resorts in Australia, South Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore all prize the Chinese guest.“Overseas casinos that rely significantly on junkets are clearly in the cross hairs and will suffer the impact — especially if China has plans for long-term enforcement of the existing policies (which we believe China does),” the Sanford note concluded.
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