Chinese police detain 21 suspects in raid on gambling den hidden in forest

Police in southeast China have detained 21 people on suspicion of illegal gambling in a mountain forest hideaway, according to a mainland news report.

A team of 10 officers from the city of Tongling in Anhui province raided the premises - a simple den comprised of tables and chairs under a tarpaulin slung from branches - on Monday, news website Thepaper.cn reported on Wednesday.

The operation took about two hours and the officers used sniffer dogs and drones to help track down the suspects, some of whom tried to hide in the surrounding undergrowth, the report said.

Police seized an unspecified amount of money and an assortment of gambling paraphernalia, it said without elaborating.

All of the suspects were from Nanling county in the neighbouring city of Wuhu, the report said. Two were put in criminal detention on suspicion of running the operation, while the 17 others were held under administrative detention.

The den comprised tables and chairs under a tarpaulin slung from branches. PHOTO: South China Morning Post

The report did not explain what happened to the two other detainees.

One of the suspects, identified only as Wu, was quoted as saying that the site was chosen for the den because it was hard to find and easy to escape from during a raid.

Police were tipped off about the den, and after further investigation identified who ran it and when the gamblers would be there, the report said.

Gambling is prohibited in China, but illegal casinos and betting on games like mahjong are common.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.