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China continues to to ramp up its war on cross-border gambling

China has continued to ramp up its war on cross-border gambling with the Ministry of Public Security promising a crackdown on illegal gambling activities over the Chinese New Year period and calling for guilty parties to surrender.

The Ministry issued a statement and hosted a press briefing on Friday where it outlined key steps to be taken in response to the National People’s Congress recently passing an amendment to China’s criminal law. The amendment, which takes effect from 1 March 2021, will create a new crime against cross-border casinos found to be organizing or soliciting Chinese citizens to gamble and increase penalties for those found guilty of serious breaches.

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism also revealed last month it is preparing to expand a “blacklist” of overseas tourist destinations it says are attracting Chinese tourists for gambling activities.

While none of the destinations targeted have been publicly named, the Ministry of Public Security appears to be expediting all anti-gambling efforts ahead of Chinese New Year, promising Friday to deploy additional resources that will work closely with immigration authorities to implement strict immigration control measures while “strengthening law enforcement cooperation with certain countries” in order to prevent Chinese citizens gambling abroad.

“According to relevant data, the annual Spring Festival holiday is the most rampant period for overseas gambling groups to invite gambling and gambling activities,” said Liao Jinrong, Director of the Ministry’s Bureau of International Cooperation.

“It has not only caused a large outflow of funds, but also resulted in kidnapping, extortion, crimes involving gangs and other vicious crimes, which are serious threats. Our economic security and social stability undermine the holiday atmosphere.”

The crackdown appears to be targeted both at those operating online gambling sites and at junket operators, with Liao warning that anyone involved in “gambling, online gambling, or providing funds and technical support for gambling activities” are in violation of China’s criminal law.