Gaming Operators, Junkets and Private Citizens Should Carefully Study New Changes to the Continent’s Penal Code – Report

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According to a report published by the Macao Polytechnic Institute Center for Tourism and Gaming Studies and viewed by Macao News Agency.

The center recently released its new research compilation book Global Gaming & Tourism Research, which includes analysis on the specific application of cross-border gambling crimes in Mainland China and its impact on Macau’s gaming industry, by Zhang Guoxuan , deputy prosecutor with the Jiangxi People’s Procuratorate.

“Mainland China is very concerned about the money coming out of the country, especially in recent years, as many casinos have been established outside of China in countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, Russia and others. regions. China is actually surrounded by many casinos, which target Chinese citizens as important customers, ”editor-in-chief and professor at the center, Zeng Zhonglu, told MNA.

“In 2020, between February and April of this year, there were three special meetings organized by the Minister of Public Security to discuss the crackdown on cross-border gambling. You can see how concerned the Chinese government is about the matter. That’s why they need something to turn the tide and are determined to stop this development ”.

Last year, the director general of the international cooperation department of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, Liao Jinrong, said that about 1 trillion RMB ($ 145.5 billion) of funds are flowing out of China for gambling activities every year, stressing that the problem is a “threat to the economy and national security of the country”.

At the same time, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism has repeatedly expanded an anonymous “blacklist” of foreign destinations that attract Chinese tourists for gambling activities, including countries like the Philippines, Cambodia and the United States. Vietnam, and potentially Australia.

Meanwhile, in April 2021, Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi stressed the importance of tackling cross-border gambling and that the country must destroy all related operations.

At the time, ministry figures showed that Chinese police had investigated 18,000 cases of cross-border and criminal gambling, and more than 110,000 suspects had been arrested.

On March 1 of this year, a new amendment to Chinese criminal law was also implemented, changing the gambling offense into three different types under section 303, namely gambling, opening a casino and l organization of the participation of mainland residents to play outside limits.

Under the new article, anyone operating or managing casinos and arranging or soliciting Chinese residents to participate in gambling abroad, where the amount at stake is large and of a serious nature would be exposed to tougher penalties.

The sentence for this new crime would correspond to the crime of “opening casinos” in China, which carries a maximum penalty of five years fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention or control, in addition to a fine. .

In serious circumstances, the person is sentenced to more than five years but not more than 10 years of fixed-term imprisonment, in addition to a fine.

“I believe that all casinos and cooperative casinos should study the law very carefully in order to avoid any activity that could be considered a crime under Section 303. Everyone, even ordinary citizens, should understand that if you recruit Chinese nationals in casinos and get a profit that would violate this article, ”Prof Zheng said, mirroring the report.

“New technological developments make it much easier to discover all illegal gambling activity, including Big Data, more powerful computing capabilities and faster Internet connections. These three technologies combined can make these actions more transparent. In the past, Junket operators if they recruited mainland citizens to come to Macau and loaned them a large sum for gambling, this would not be easily followed due to technological limitations at the time. But the situation has changed ”.

The researcher added that local casinos should reconsider their strategy in the new legal environment to avoid illegality, while efforts to diversify the SAR’s economy should be accelerated.

Supreme People’s Procuratorate of China

Professor Zeng also noted that despite the changes, the alleged crimes attributed by mainland authorities to now-detained Suncity CEO Alvin Chau Cheok Wa were already covered by the previous penal code.

On November 26, news spread that authorities in eastern China’s Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province, had issued an arrest warrant for Chau, alleging that he had formed an network of junket agents on the continent to help citizens engage in offshore and cross-border gambling activities.

The Wenzhou City Public Security Bureau also alleged that Chau also established an asset management company on the mainland to help players with cross-border money transfers.

According to Professor Zheng Zhonglu, the crimes that Chau has been accused by mainland authorities – such as the crime of “opening a casino” on the mainland – were already factored into mainland criminal law before the recent amendment.

The gambling researcher also noted that such a crime may include online gambling operations or online promotional activities to entice Chinese nationals to gamble in Macau, since the new amendment establishes that actions against gambling are “Outside the country (borders)”.

“If you organize Chinese citizens in Macau, Hong Kong to play [could be considered as out of borders by the new amendment] but if you have casinos or if you have contacted certain casino units but have not recruited mainland citizens and they come to play alone, it would not be a crime ”,

“If you are organizing them just for travel and there is no evidence that you are organizing them for casino games, or if you haven’t loaned money or moved money to help them play , it would not be a crime “

Over the weekend, Chau and 10 others were arrested by the Macau judicial police, in arrests allegedly unrelated to the arrest warrant issued by the Wenzhou authorities.

The local investigation reportedly began in August 2019 and turned into a special case with an in-depth investigation in April 2020, with Wong saying that “it is not surprising that the investigation takes more than a year.”

The Macau Prosecutor’s Office later said that a Macau-based criminal group led by Chau was accused of setting up an illicit online betting platform in the Philippines with a live broadcast, in order to attract people living on the mainland as the main source of customers. for the game

The MP added that the alleged illicit funds generated by the operation were then funneled into bank accounts of Macau-based companies using underground banks.

Just a day after the arrests, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of China (SPP) held a press conference regarding current efforts to prevent illegal gambling operations, with the body describing a noticeable increase in acceptances of arrest requests, arrest approvals, prosecution deliberations as well as prosecutions against individuals for running gambling dens across the country between January and September of this year.

Miao Shengming, director of the first public prosecutor’s office of the SPP, pointed out that the crimes of opening casino operations on the mainland involved more factors originating outside the country’s borders than other types of crimes.

According to the Global Times, from 2020 to October, Chinese public security organs investigated more than 30,000 cases of cross-border gambling, arrested more than 160,000 suspects and closed more than 5,100 gaming platforms and 3,900 platforms. of illegal payments and underground banks.

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