WeChat 'Red Packet' Gambling Rings Busted by Police in Shenzhen

By Phumelele Simelane, July 28, 2018

0 0

Police in China have captured another chain of unlawful online gambling rings that operated via virtual red packets (hongbao) on WeChat, according to South China Morning Post.

Over the span of a year, Shenzhen police arrested 71 people for their involvement in gambling activities on Tencent’s WeChat and QQ platforms, the largest sum accounted for being more than RMB60 million, according to Xinhua. Many other provinces in China have also been affected by similar scams — including Jiangsu, Hunan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan — though representatives from Tencent refused to comment on the matter. 

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Red Envelopes

One can gamble hongbao on WeChat by paying out to everyone in the group if they obtain the red packet with the lowest value. 

They can also gamble through a point betting system. SCMP explains:

"For example, a gambler who grabs a red packet of 12.07 yuan will receive 9 points by adding the last three digits of the red packet '2,' '0' and '7.' The person with the highest score wins the game and the points are converted into money when the game ends, according to Xinhua."

In some cases, robots were adopted to enhance the efficiency of gambling, according to Zhang Qian, deputy director of the Investigation and Supervision Department of People’s Procuratorate of Nanshan district in Shenzhen. Zhang noted that WeChat users are much harder to detect than casinos or gambling dens because they tend to use multiple accounts and frequently change private groups to avoid being tracked. 

To combat illegal gambling activity, Tencent recently developed techniques to block unusual accounts and activity on WeChat. WeChat’s security center has confirmed that in the second quarter of this year, the platform has shut down more than 8,000 groups related to gambling. 

READ MORE: Billions of Hongbao Sent Through WeChat for CNY

Hongbao (red envelopes filled with money) are distributed in China as tradition to symbolize the act of celebration. Virtual hongbao have become popular online in the past few years thanks to the rise of WeChat. According to stats from Tencent, as many as 768 million WeChat users sent or received red packets during the Lunar New Year Period, a 10 percent increase from the year prior. 

The first ever digital red packets were launched in 2011 by Sina Weibo and have since become an feature on other Chinese social networking sites.  

[Cover image via Weifly/Flickr]

more news

2 Expats Face Investigation in Shenzhen for Racist Comments in WeChat Group

The two foreigners made reference to the Nanjing Massacre atrocity, while also using the slur 'Chink' on multiple occasions.

Millions of Couch Potatoes Called out in WeChat Report on Oct Holiday Activity

Our friendly social media app reminds us how lazy we were over the holiday.

Shenzhen Gangsters Use AI and WeChat to Facilitate Online Casino

This is reportedly the first case of a public prosecution by The People's Procurate of Nanshan under the city's new effort to sweep away gang-related crimes.

Missing 10-Year-Old Found in Shenzhen After Social Media Frenzy

If you tossed and turned last night, rest easy – the missing fourth grader has been found.

How to Track Typhoons Hitting China on WeChat and Web

Keep track of storms' paths in real-time as they hit China.

You Can Now Scan-to-Translate on WeChat

WeChat continues to build upon their app with a new translation feature. Taking a picture is all it takes.

WeChat Launches New 'Floating Window' Feature

Thus begins a new era of social media multitasking.

China Immigration Rejects WeChat Border-Cross Scheme

Could the 'scan-WeChat-to-cross-border' idea be dead before it even launched?

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at ThatsShenzhen for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shenzhen With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's PRD!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.