Public security authorities will maintain "zero tolerance" for cross-border online gambling and resolutely curb the spread and development of such crimes, officials from the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday.
Li Jingsheng, director of the ministry's security administration, said they will carry out special operations focusing on some of the key neighboring countries and syndicates involved in cyber gambling.
They will also guide local police to actively crack down on such crimes, directly supervise the investigation of some major cases and improve their criminal investigation capabilities to form a strong deterrent to criminals, he added.
The ministry launched a three-year special campaign last year dubbed "Chain Break" in a bid to "eliminate" cross-border cyber gambling crimes in China, said ministry spokeswoman Guo Lin.
Since the beginning of the campaign, police across the country have dug deep to trace clues, targeted some key gambling countries and international gambling groups and strengthened supervision measures in key industries such as lotteries, computer games, foreign investment and labor service cooperation, she said.
According to ministry statistics, police in provinces such as Fujian, Hunan, Guangdong, Anhui and Jiangsu have cracked a large number of multinational gambling cases, and more than 1,100 members of Chinese gangs have been deported from overseas.
Local police have also increased efforts to examine, monitor and verify relevant clues and busted a number of internet casinos, the ministry said.
Since 2019, the ministry has handled more than 7,200 criminal cases of online gambling, and seized 25,000 suspects and 18 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) related to online gambling.
Zhang Xiaopeng, deputy director of the ministry's security administration, said that in recent years online gambling crimes have become more organized, internationalized, industrialized and in sync with the rapid development of information and communication technologies.
He said some international groups in gaming industries and domestic gangs have taken advantage of gaming policies, financial consortia and frequent exchanges in neighboring countries to set up cyber casinos in the form of online lotteries or games.
Deterred by police in China, many syndicates transferred their websites' maintenance, customer service, technical operations and fund settlements to neighboring countries with the help of local gaming syndicates, he said.
More than 98 percent of gambling platforms, including some international gaming sites, were leased by overseas servers.
In order to ensure these platforms can operate at high speed in China, the overseas gambling groups often collaborate with illegal operators or cloud platforms in China who provide services such as server acceleration and website redirection, Zhang said, adding this will also be one of their next focuses.
"We have made some achievements in the control of cross-border online gambling. However, we can see clearly that the situation is still grim and complex, and we will face more difficult tasks," Li said.
Li said next up they will facilitate more talks about gambling bans with other countries, better control the "funds chain" and "technical chain" in some major industries and strengthen the supervision on foreign investment and outbound personnel.