China will tighten penalties for illegal gambling

2 January 2019

China will increase penalties for illegal gambling, as well as for using the WeChat social network in order to gain illegal profits from gambling.

At Christmas, Zhou Jiahai, Deputy Director of the Research Bureau of the Supreme Court of China, issued a directive outlining the “five initiatives for severely punishing cybercrime.” Zhou claimed that it was “the relentless duty of the judiciary to severely punish cybercrime in accordance with the law.”

We are talking about violations of the law related to obtaining illegal profits from illegal gambling by attracting new clientele through WeChat. The use of the “red envelope” service for money transfers related to gambling is also banned.

Winning Hand

The deputy director said that from now on, such violations of the law would be punished to the same extent as the management of illegal casinos, in accordance with article 303 of the Criminal Code. Those convicted under this article are subject to a large fine and can spend up to 10 years in prisons.

Zhou’s report alleges that the illegal use of WeChat’s red envelopes for gambling purposes can cause serious harm to Chinese society. In this regard, the government encourages members of the judiciary to teach people to comply with the law and discipline.

WeChat groups have proven to be a popular channel that allows Chinese citizens to participate in elementary forms of online gambling banned in the state. The government periodically intensified repressions against the illegal actions of the messenger.

WeChat also proved to be a handy tool for gambling operators: its services were used for live broadcasting of gaming tables in real time. This month, the instant messaging system was forced to refute the information that its funds for online payments were offered to players in the casino of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

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