China warns citizens in Singapore to stay away from gambling

By Reuters   March 17, 2024 | 10:57 pm PT
China warns citizens in Singapore to stay away from gambling
A man at the Marina Bay Sands Casino in Singapore in 2021. Photo by Unsplash/Nayan Bhalotia
China's embassy in Singapore on Monday urged its citizens in the city-state to stay away from all forms of betting, saying gambling overseas violates Chinese laws.

The warning comes as Beijing intensifies its efforts to crack down on Chinese citizens gambling across Southeast Asia, a popular tourist destination.

In a statement, the embassy "solemnly reminded" the majority of Chinese in Singapore to enhance their legal awareness and stay away from gambling. Singapore is home to two casinos, one operated by Las Vegas Sands and the other Genting Singapore.

"Even if overseas casinos are legally opened, cross-border gambling by Chinese citizens is suspected of violating the laws of our country," the embassy said, adding that embassies and consulates may not be able to provide consular protection for violations.

China has been intensifying its crack down on cross-border, off-shore and online gambling, sending similar warnings to several countries as it tries to curb these illegal activities and threats to citizens abroad.

"Cross-border gambling may also bring risks such as fraud, money laundering, kidnapping, detention, trafficking, and smuggling," the Chinese embassy in Singapore said in its statement on Monday.

The Chinese embassies in South Korea and Sri Lanka also issued similar warnings recently.

On Feb. 22, law enforcement agencies in China and the Philippines cooperated to repatriate more than 40 Chinese nationals engaged in offshore gambling, according to a statement from the Chinese embassy in the Philippines.

"The Chinese government has always opposed any form of gambling and opposes Chinese citizens leaving the country to engage in the gambling industry, the embassy said.

In addition, the ministers of public security of China and Vietnam agreed to enhance law enforcement cooperation and signed a memorandum of understanding on working together to combat cross-border gambling.

The Chinese embassy in Singapore said the Ministry of Public Security of China opened a reporting platform for combating cross-border and online gambling, where Chinese citizens can pass on clues and suspected activity.

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