Confess and nearly all will be forgiven — that’s the promise made by China’s Orwellian-named Ministry of Public Security as the country launches a crackdown on illegal gambling.
Punters, so-called “facilitators” and organisers of China’s underground betting scene–fuelled by the country’s recent Covid-19 lockdowns–have until April 30 to come clean.
It’s not quite a full amnesty but illegal gamers will avoid “serious punishment” if they confess their sins by the deadline, the ministry and the nation’s Supreme People’s Court announced in a joint statement this week, entitled: “Notice on the surrender of cross-border criminal gambling suspects.”
Whistle-blowers and informers will be offered police protection and–depending on the quality and impact of their tip-off–may even get off Scot-free. But those who ignore the Notice will face severe justice if snared, the ministry has warned.
Authorities are determined to crack down on illicit offshore and cross-border gambling, said Liao Jinrong, a top official in the Ministry of Public Security.
Meanwhile, it would appear that the Communist state is also determined to stamp out big money oversees gambling by its citizens.
The world’s most populous nation and de facto superpower has launched a pilot project to deter heavy-hitters waging outsize stakes on foreign gaming tables.
It’s claimed that 35,000 big-shot punters–and counting–have so far been reeled-in; while new technology is concurrently being rolled-out to net the many more minnows, who enjoy an illicit online flutter. Corrective education programmes are in the offing for recidivists.
The gambling crackdown comes before the Chinese New Year public holiday (for 16-days, starting February 12), when overseas betting junkets and gambling across-the-board traditionally enjoy a boom.
But China is now determined to funnel all gambling action into its state-controlled sports and welfare lotteries, and authorities are putting big pressure on their citizens to abandon much-favoured gambling destinations, such as Cambodia and The Philippines.
Keep the money clean and keep it in China is the message.