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Caixin

How illegal online gambling launders $150bn from China

Campaign against fraud bars the use of other people's phone and bank cards

In the first nine months of 2020, police cracked down on 1,700 online gambling platforms and 1,400 underground banks involving more than 1 trillion yuan ($153 billion) of illegal transactions.    © Reuters

A migrant worker from the northern Chinese city of Baoding "lent" three credit cards under his name to friends to offset 2,500 yuan ($380) of debt he owed. He never imagined he would later be arrested for the illegal sale of credit cards that were used by criminal groups to launder money for online gambling.

This arrest was part of Chinese authorities' nationwide "Card Breaking Campaign," an operation to crack down on illicit bank card transactions and bank card sales to combat telecommunications fraud and cross-border online gambling. The campaign aims to cut off links between mobile phone SIM cards plus bank cards and users who are not the registered cardholders. Also included are online payment accounts such as Tencent's WeChat Pay and Alibaba's Alipay.

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