Police in Heilongjiang province have broken up a multinational gambling ring involving a website in the Philippines that attracted bettors in China. They have seized more than 80 million yuan (S$18 million) in gambling funds.
Police escorted the main suspect in the case, surnamed Wang, from the Philippines to China on Saturday in a move that marked a crucial step in the police investigation, China News Service reported on Sunday.
The police have so far captured 125 suspects in connection with the case. In addition to the seized funds, they also have frozen bank accounts with funds totaling 230 million yuan, the report said.
Additionally, the authorities cracked down on more than 10 gambling networks, online payment platforms and agencies in connection with the gambling case.
According to the country's criminal law, gambling activities for the purpose of revenue generation are punishable by up to three years in prison and fines. Those who run casinos can be given a maximum of 10 years in prison plus fines.
The police in Mudanjiang first received reports from whistleblowers about the gambling website "dafa888.com", the report said.
Police found that it was a Philippines-based gambling den that targeted the Chinese mainland to attract gamblers, with the participants spread across more than 10 provincial areas in the country, according to the report.
The gambling company that runs the website, dafabet.com, calls itself one of Asia's leading online betting and gaming sites.
It offers online services, including sports betting, poker and other betting games.
The police said the company has a staff of more than 300 and more than 30 branches that operate gambling sites.
The police blocked two gambling websites operated under dafabet.com that target Chinese gamblers, and attempts have been made to extradite six of the Chinese residents involved.
So far two Chinese nationals have been escorted by authorities back to China from the Philippines for further investigation, the police said.