In just the first six months of 2023, Chinese authorities detected 16,000 cases of obstructing national border control, with 32,000 suspects arrested. According to China’s National Immigration Administration, this is an effort to restrain people from leaving the country to conduct gambling activities.
Immigration administration spokesperson Zhang Ning mentioned in a press conference that foreign and domestic criminal syndicates had joined together to transport Chinese nationals out of the country for gambling or telecom fraud.
Besides striking at organized illegal border crossing for gambling at Chinese border checkpoints, the police also strengthened their operations within the country. According to a report, in the central province of Hubei, two men were arrested early this month, as they were found to be agents soliciting mainland residents to gamble in Macau.
China has amended its criminal code, which for the first time criminalizes anyone who assists or solicits others in gambling out of the country. The new measure came into effect on March 1st, 2021.
Chinese authorities also announced that they had resolved 464,000 cases related to telecom fraud and online gambling last year, with 351 ringleaders and key members of criminal groups arrested.
According to the Criminal Investigation Department of China’s Ministry of Public Security, “local authorities paid close attention to the implementation of various measures to combat new types of crimes and the main responsibility of industry supervision last year.”
The Chinese government issued a set of guidelines in April 2022, which stressed intensifying the crackdown on telecom fraud. Awareness campaigns were devised to equip the public better to identify fraud schemes.
Authorities also tightened the supervision over financial institutions to detect and cut off new money laundering channels of fraud rings. The country’s social credit system will blacklist those involved in telecom or internet fraud.
Since the new guidelines were launched, some Chinese citizens started to report difficulties in leaving the country, and many individuals were persuaded by authorities to give up leaving China’s borders. But the guidelines were never made clear to the public.
Chinese authorities pointed out that “online gambling and telecom fraud have caused social problems in China as well as in Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, with some Chinese nationals falling victim to murder, kidnapping, and human trafficking.”