Law enforcement officials on the Pacific Ocean island nation of Fiji reportedly deported 77 Chinese nationals back to their home nation over the weekend amid accusations that the group had been running an illegal online gambling enterprise targeting mainland players.

According to a report from China’s state-owned Xinhua news service, the Fiji suspects are thought to have been involved in more than 50 illegal online gambling cases that earned them approximately $892,000 over the course of almost a year.

The news service reported that the deported Chinese nationals were immediately arrested by members of the Public Security Ministry on Saturday upon their arrival at Changchun Longjia International Airport in Jilin Province some 630 miles north-east of Beijing.

Thought to be the first time such a large number of suspects have ever been simultaneously returned to China from an Oceanian nation, the action was reportedly precipitated by the suicide of a mainland player that had been swindled out of just over $193,000 on September 22.

The subsequent investigation is said to have uncovered a gang that consisted of over 200 individuals in China, Indonesia and Fiji. This group is reported to have earned about $14.8 million by targeting players in over 20 mainland provinces and municipalities.

In cooperation with their Chinese counterparts, Fijian police reportedly raided five gambling establishments on July 18 and arrested the 77 suspects while also confiscating equipment including mobile telephones, computers and bank cards. At the same time, mainland law enforcement officials are said to have made 83 arrests after busting eight local dens alongside a pair of technical teams.

The news service additionally reported that Friday saw the Public Security Ministry arrest 143 suspects that had been deported from Indonesia as part of the same crack down. Another ten Chinese nationals purportedly remain under arrest in Jakarta amid claims that they were at the center of an illegal online gambling operation that had brought in almost $3 million.

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