Police take down WeChat red pocket gambling ring

Police in China have taken down a WeChat gambling ring that allowed punters to make bets on the platform’s digital red pocket feature, local media reports.

Red pockets have traditionally been used for celebration in Chinese culture. The feature was launched on Sina Weibo first in 2011, and has become popular amongst social media and communication apps.

According to a report from Xinhua, there are a number of ways that a punter can gamble on the red packets.

One method is having a gambler pay out everyone in a group if he or she receives the smallest face value red packet. Another method is combining the last three digits of the red packet value i.e. 14.02, amounting to a number (in this case, 4+0+2 = 6) – with the one scoring the most points to win.

Zhang Qian, deputy director of the Investigation and Supervision Department of People’s Procuratorate of Shenzhen’s Nanshan district said that some gambling organizers have even introduced robots to automatically calculate values to make gambling “more efficient.”

Earlier this month, the Chinese government had their hands full clamping down on illegal World Cup betting through Chinese social media apps.