China Daily (Canada) - - DEPTH -

“Their fam­i­lies in China are then told to help re­pay the vic­tims’ gam­bling debts or asked to pay high amounts in ran­som for their re­lease. Oth­er­wise, the vic­tims will be tor­tured or beaten to the point where they be­come dis­abled,” he said.

“There are also some crim­i­nal gangs that use mo­tor­bikes and other forms of trans­porta­tion to help Chi­nese who have not yet been granted of­fi­cial travel doc­u­ments and visas to cross the bor­der to visit casi­nos,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice state­ment, Yun­nan po­lice have zero tol­er­ance to­ward cross-bor­der gam­bling gangs and re­lated crimes, and will launch more op­er­a­tions to com­bat them in com­ing years.

“Po­lice from Yun­nan will also fur­ther ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion with coun­ter­parts in neigh­bor­ing coun­tries to crack down on cross-bor­der crimes and pro­tect the safety of Chi­nese abroad in the com­ing months,” the state­ment added.

The state­ment also said a sep­a­rate three-year cam­paign has been launched to fo­cus on com­bat­ing cross-bor­der gam­bling and the kid­nap­ping and de­ten­tion of Chi­nese cit­i­zens, which is ex­pected to help in con­tain­ing il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.

Po­lice from China and neigh­bor­ing coun­tries have detained 380 sus­pects af­ter bust­ing 45 crim­i­nal gangs and swoop­ing on 62 gam­bling dens dur­ing the cam­paign.

Yun­nan po­lice have also suc­cess­fully stopped more than 8,700 main­lan­ders from cross­ing the bor­der il­le­gally to gam­ble in un­der­ground casi­nos in the past three months, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

The cam­paign has dealt a heavy blow to cross-bor­der gam­bling and re­lated crimes, and also played a role in en­sur­ing the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity of the prov­ince’s bor­der ar­eas, the state­ment said.

It added that po­lice will not re­lax their vig­i­lance in com­bat­ing cross-bor­der gam­bling in the com­ing months.

The main bat­tle­fields for the cam­paign have been Yun­nan’s bor­der cities and pre­fec­tures of Pu’er, Xishuang­banna, De­hong and Lin­cang.

In Lin­cang alone, po­lice busted 10 cross-bor­der crim­i­nal gangs in­volved in kid­nap­ping and de­tain­ing Chi­nese who owed gam­bling debts. In co­op­er­a­tion with their for­eign coun­ter­parts, of­fi­cers also swooped on five gam­bling dens used by lo­cal gangs to il­le­gally de­tain Chi­nese who failed to re­pay such debts.

A to­tal of 71 cases in­volv­ing kid­nap­ping and de­tain­ing Chi­nese were solved dur­ing the cam­paign and 26 Chi­nese were res­cued by po­lice from Lin­cang, helped by their for­eign coun­ter­parts.

Ac­cord­ing to a po­lice of­fi­cer in Kun­ming, cap­i­tal of Yun­nan, crim­i­nals from home and abroad, in col­lu­sion with for­eign casi­nos, have con­tin­u­ously lured Chi­nese res­i­dents with fake in­for­ma­tion through phone calls, WeChat, QQ and text mes­sag­ing to cross the bor­der to gam­ble in re­cent years.

Ac­cord­ing to the Yun­nan of­fi­cer who de­clined to be named, many crim­i­nals at­tract Chi­nese to gam­ble in over­seas casi­nos by ly­ing to them about em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, free loans and busi­ness co­op­er­a­tion. They also falsely prom­ise to of­fer free trans­porta­tion and ac­commo- da­tion to Chi­nese res­i­dents. All the Chi­nese who are detained abroad like to gam­ble and want to be­come rich overnight, the of­fi­cer said.

Yun­nan po­lice have urged Chi­nese to in­crease aware­ness to pre­vent them­selves fall­ing vic­tim to cross-bor­der gang­sters, and to avoid gam­bling in for­eign casi­nos, as this can pose a high risk to per­sonal safety and also loss of prop­erty, the of­fi­cer said.

Gam­bling harms not only the gam­blers them­selves, but also their fam­i­lies and friends, he added.

Lei Zhun­ing, deputy di­rec­tor of the Myan­mar Re­search In­sti­tute at the Yun­nan Academy of So­cial Sciences, praised the role the cam­paign has played in safe­guard­ing and pro­tect­ing the lives, prop­erty and dig­nity of Chi­nese abroad.

“This demon­strates the de­ter­mi­na­tion of Yun­nan po­lice to crack down on cross-bor­der gam­bling, and crimes such as kid­nap­ping de­ten­tion,” Lei said.

“Cross-bor­der crime in­clud­ing smug­gling, drug traf­fick­ing and money laun­der­ing have been rife in re­cent years for many rea­sons and this af­fected the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity of Yun­nan’s bor­der ar­eas and its over­all open­ing-up to the out­side world,” he added.

“The timely crack­down has helped bring cross-bor­der crimes and and re­lated il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity un­der con­trol and played a big part in safe­guard­ing the sta­bil­ity, har­mony and healthy de­vel­op­ment of the bor­der ar­eas. It has also helped to en­sure a good and sound climate for Yun­nan to open wider to the out­side world and pro­mote eco­nomic con­struc­tion,” Lei said.

Dong Sheng, a Lin­cang res­i­dent, at­trib­uted the grow­ing num­ber of Chi­nese res­i­dents who are cross­ing

Li Qin, a vil­lager from Xishuang­banna, said cross-bor­der gam­bling had fre­quently been re­ported in the bor­der town and had af­fected sta­bil­ity, pro­duc­tion and res­i­dents’ lives.

“The ad­van­tage of be­ing close to the bor­der has en­cour­aged some vil­lagers who want to be­come rich overnight to go abroad to gam­ble in re­cent years,” she said.

Zhao Ji­a­jia, a De­hong res­i­dent, called for more con­crete and ef­fec­tive mea­sures to be in­tro­duced to help pre­vent and com­bat cross-bor­der gam­bling.

“De­hong has two exit and en­try check­points and th­ese of­fer con­ve­nient and easy chan­nels for lo­cals to cross the bor­der for busi­ness and sight­see­ing, but law­break­ers and gam­blers also find it very easy to leave the mainland to gam­ble abroad,” she said.

Con­tact the writers at zheng­caix­[email protected]­

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