Police Bust ¥10 Billion Cryptocurrency World Cup Gambling Ring in South China

By Jessica Ho, July 17, 2018

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Chinese police in Guangdong province have broken up the PRC’s first major sports gambling ring involving cryptocurrency. The illegal World Cup betting syndicate was discovered to be hosting more than RMB10 billion worth of various digital currencies.

According to an online statement that police issued on July 12, they apprehended six major suspects of the gambling syndicate. Police have allegedly frozen around RMB5 million in members’ bank accounts and seized over 10 million yuan of cryptocurrencies belonging to them, South China Morning Post reported.

The gambling platform was operated on the 'dark web' and only accepted cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, according to Guangdong police. The gambling platform was in operation for eight months, during which time the site attracted 330,000 registered users from various countries and had over 8,000 agents who earned commission for recruiting new members through a pyramid scheme.

In a separate statement, Guangdong police said that in a special crackdown on World Cup gambling, they arrested a total of 540 suspects from over 20 gambling rings, and froze RMB260 million. The cryptocurrency case, however, “is the most representative of the new-type of online football gambling so far,” the statement read.

While this is China’s first big cryptocurrency sports gambling bust, Chinese authorities have been taking measures to curb crypto trading for months, with the People’s Bank of China announcing in February that “it would block access to all domestic and foreign cryptocurrency exchanges.”

READ MORE: Will China's Central Bank Ever Accept Bitcoin? 

[Cover image via Pexels]

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