A senior police officer has promised to give top priority in the months ahead to fighting criminal gangs and shadow banks, and going after the organizers and managers of online gambling activities.
Cai Hui, director of the social security bureau of the Guangdong Department of Public Security, said police across the province will spare no effort to bust any officials or law enforcement officers who act as "protective umbrellas" for gambling by tipping off the criminals.
Cai, who made the comments at a news conference in Guangzhou on Thursday, said the Guangdong police had detained 140 suspected gamblers after busting a major online gambling ring in Jiangmen, in the western part of the Pearl River Delta.
"The detainees include more than 74 bankers, organizers, gang leaders and key members," Cai said.
"The gang that had been active for years was found to have once established six websites to attract online gamblers in the past years," Cai said. "The suspected gamblers came from major cities in the Pearl River Delta and the neighboring Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region," Cai said.
The case involved more than 1.3 billion yuan ($206 million) and police have frozen more than 2,900 bank accounts suspected of being used in online gambling, said Cai, who is also director of the bureau that investigates food and drug safety violations and environmental pollution.
A large number of bank cards, mobile phones and computers were also seized in the two police operations, which were launched on March 12 and April 2.
Cai urged residents, particularly young people, to be aware of online gambling websites, because many people are introduced to them through online games.
"They become addicted to online gambling after first winning game coins in online games," he said.
A boy in Guangzhou sought police help after he lost 150,000 yuan through online gambling earlier this year.
"Before the boy got into online gambling, he had been lured to play online games and was rewarded," Cai said.
According to Cai, a special task force was established in December to focus on investigating a case when police found that a growing number of local residents had participated in online gambling.
Beyond the achievements of the task force, Cai hinted that special campaigns and operations will be launched to fight online gambling and related cybercrimes in the months ahead.
The head of a detachment of the Guangzhou police that deals with food and drug safety as well as pollution, Fang Xuerong, said police in Guangzhou have detained 35 suspects after cracking down on two major online counterfeiting cases in recent weeks.
Police detained 13 suspects and seized more than 10 million yuan worth of counterfeit red wines and packaging materials, in a series of operations launched in the city.
In another operation, police detained 22 suspects and seized more than 20 million yuan worth of counterfeit medicines and cosmetics after sweeping six counterfeiting operations in the city's Huadu, Haizhu and Baiyun districts on April 19.
"Four criminal gangs that were once active in producing and selling fake products online were busted in the operation," Fang said.