Pair pay high price for over­seas gam­bling trips

China Daily (Canada) - - DEPTH -

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

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