|In China, 20 suspects have gone on trial in the city of Kunming charged with opening gaming houses and severely interfering with the social order in what is believed to be the largest ever trial of its kind in the nation’s history.|
According to the Shanghai Daily newspaper, prosecutors at the Kunming Intermediate People's Court told judges that the case involved about $1.24 billion in wagers and more than $28.91 million in illegal profits. They stated that one of the gambling website's allegedly operated by the defendants attracted 5,198 registered users between August of 2006 and March of last year.
The Court in the Yunnan Province stated that the ongoing indictment was the country's biggest online gambling case due to the number of suspected gamblers and the wide area it affected. Among those charged are two Hong Kong brothers identified as Tan Zhiwei and Tan Zhiman. Prosecutors allege that the pair set up a gambling house in Myanmar in 1999 before developing an online betting network, eventually establishing several websites with computer servers based in Guangzhou and Dongguan.
Prosecutors allege that more than 3,000 people worked for this network with the 20 most senior employees operating a clear division of labour. While some worked as gambling house managers responsible for operating the websites, others were in charge of the establishment and conducted maintenance on the network. One defendant, Kang Zhenglong, is a former official with the Ruili branch of the China Industrial and Commercial Bank and allegedly opened several hundred bank accounts for the group.