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14 Oct, 2015

Korean casino lures Chinese gamblers with models and C-listers

By Yuan Can

(People’s Daily Online), October 13, 2015 – A gambling house located on Jeju Island, South Korea is always ablaze with lights even during the daytime. The house is full of gamblers. VIP rooms are located on the second floor for clients with greater stake. Taking advantage of a visa exemption policy for Chinese visitors, casinos on the island has used models and C-listers to lure Chinese gamblers, CCTV reports.

A man surnamed Sun called China’s Consulate General in Jeju Island in November 2014 saying that he was deceived to gamble in South Korea from north China’s Hebei province. He had troubles in paying the debts and local police authorities were unwilling to intervene.

Chinese have poured into Jeju Island since the island adopted the policy to allow Chinese stay on the Island for 30 days without a visa, said Zhang Xin, Consul General of China on Jeju Island. The island sees high growth of Chinese visitors from 2012 to 2015.

There are eight gambling houses for foreigners on the island, and more than 80 per cent of the gamblers are from China. The Consulate General has received many calls looking for help involving millions yuan of gambling debts.

Sun, an owner of a small company in Hebei, has gambled in South Korea for more than 20 times and lost all his fortune. Sun came to regain his fortune this time.

According to disclosed data of Korean Banks, the income of the eight gambling houses from foreign currency exchanges is more than USD 1 billion.

According to regulations of China’s Ministry of Public Security, organizing more than 10 people to gamble abroad is a crime. Four Korean gambling house managers who organized gamblers in China were arrested in 2013. Furthermore, 13 Korean managers and 34 Chinese agents and heads of gambling groups were caught on June 17, 2015 in Beijing, Hebei, Shanghai and Jiangsu.

Gambling houses in neighbor countries pay special attention to Chinese gambling market and even attract Chinese to gamble in their countries in the guise of free travel.

An arrested Korean gambling house manager said that non-standard Korean gambling houses even cheat on gambling machines.

The gambling houses will rely on existing Chinese gamblers to look for more gamblers from China. The gambling houses divided Chinese gamblers by regions and appointed people to be in charge of relevant regions. These people work to find Chinese agents and heads of gambling groups.

They are lured by high interests. A Korean gambling house said that a broker could get 1.6 per cent of total amount of chips. The more a gambler loses, the more the broker could get.

A travel agency based in Beijing has helped to transfer hundreds of thousands yuan of gambling fund from China. The agency transferred the huge sum of money to illegal private banks in China first, which then transferred the money to Korean gambling houses through illegal private banks in South Korea.

Chinese police froze nearly 30 million yuan of gambling capital in June, and broke personnel chains and capital chains of five Korean gambling houses in China. Korean gambling houses have withdrawn all their representatives in China.

VIP rooms in a Korean gambling house have almost been empty for two months after Chinese police’s campaign.