Pair pay high price for overseas gambling trips
Police from Xishuangbanna in the south of the province sent a special task force to a neighboring nation, which has not been identified, to help rescue Li after receiving orders from the department on Oct 14.
Li’s son had phoned the police hotline in Beijing for help after receiving a call from his father, who asked him to send a large sum of money abroad to help repay his debts, according to a police officer from Xishuangbanna.
“My father was told he would be beaten and that he would never be freed if his family could not help him repay,” the son said.
Li was rescued by police from the two countries in a joint nighttime operation on Oct 15 after he had been detained for many hours.
Four Chinese, surnamed Song, Wu, Liu and Yang, suspected to be involved in detaining Li, were repatriated on Oct 16 for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Li told police he was encouraged to gamble abroad by Song, who told him it was easy to win “big money” in a foreign casino.
When Li went abroad, he was picked up by Song at the airport and taken to a VIP room at a hotel, where he was provided with 200,000 yuan worth of gambling chips to use at a casino. But Li lost all the chips and had to write the casino an IOU for 200,000 yuan.
The police officer said that after he was detained in the house, Li was threatened with a severe beating “that would leave him disabled” if his family refused to help him repay his debts.
The officer said Song had also taken to cross-border gambling, and had been reduced to tears after being detained and repatriated to China.
Song, who said he was forced to join an overseas criminal gang, added that he was overcome with regret for having trusted his former gambling friends and “relying on luck” in foreign casinos.
He was once a wealthy businessman, with a happy family, running a small factory in Beijing, but he lost more than 2 million yuan after becoming addicted to gambling in 2015.
After losing all his property and savings to gambling in China, he went to a foreign casino after being told by a friend that it was easy to win substantial amounts there.
The police officer said Song tried to borrow 100,000 yuan from the casino in an attempt to win back the money he had lost there. But he only received about 80,000 yuan, as the casino took a commission and added service charges.
“After his wife refused to send him a large sum of money to repay his debts, Song was forced to become a member of the overseas gang and had to promise to help it lure his friends and relatives to leave China to gamble abroad,” the officer added.
Song told police at a detention house, “My family has broken up and I have lost all my assets and savings because of my gambling addiction.”
Contact the writers at zhengcaix[email protected]nadaily.com.cn