On Tuesday the authorities in China announced that they cracked a big cross-border online gambling ring that handled $78 billion in bets from almost 1 million customers in China alone. According to local media reports, 98 suspects were arrested and more than 500 illegal online gambling sites were closed.
The investigation, called Operation 109, started at the end of last year and rounded up in July 2015. The mastermind operating the illegal gambling syndicate is a 40 year-old man named Xu from Guangdong. After the bust, Xu fled to Jieyang but he was eventually arrested in September.
The main servers of the ring were located in Taiwan, while several customer support teams operated out of the Philippines, Hong Kong and Thailand. The websites were disguised with password protection or financial systems and even players had difficulty finding the actual gambling interface.
Players who won from gambling at these sites had their winnings delivered in person, while those who lost had to forward their wagers to specified bank accounts. Reportedly the police seized a number of accounts in 14 different banks and froze another 3k accounts connected with individual players.
This is not the first illegal gambling activity that was busted by the Chinese police this year. The first arrests were made in July in a few cities in the Guangdong province. 12 more locations were also raided and 14 bank accounts were seized.