Chinese Police Use Drones to Fight Illegal Gambling Rings

  • Gambling is illegal in China and can carry a prison sentence of up to ten years
  • Many illegal gambling facilities change location regularly to elude police
  • Now the police are using drones to find these facilities, which are often in remote areas
Man flying drone
Chinese police are using drones to identify and capture evidence of illegal gambling operations.

Scourge of illegal gambling

Around the world today, there are thousands of illegal gambling operations. Some are at physical locations where illegal gambling takes place and others are online platforms that illegally target the residents of a given country.

This naturally is a scourge to the local economies and the communities as a whole. Lucrative tax revenue is being lost and the money goes to criminal enterprises. Therefore, it is important that the authorities crack down on these illegal operations.

Fighting back in China

Chinese police are utilizing drones to identify illegal gambling dens and to catch gamblers in the act. Gambling has long been illegal in China except on the island of Macau, which is the number one gambling destination in the world today. However, on the mainland, those who are found to be operating venues for gambling could get as much as ten years in prison.

Police forces have raided a number of these mobile casinos and it seems that they are heavily relying on drones to stop these illegal operations from “corrupting the spiritual civilization of society.”

Drones capture evidence

One of these recent raids took place in the eastern province of Anhui. This gambling facility was way out in the wilderness, but the police used an aerial drone to locate it.

One of the suspects revealed that he had to sell his house because of his gambling debts, having lost more than 1 million yuan ($148,000).

They collected evidence through filming with the drone before planning the raid. A raid on one ring led to the questioning of 35 suspects.

The operators were regularly changing its location to evade the authorities, which is why the police had to enlist the help of aerial drones. While there were people keeping watch for any sign of the police on the ground outside these dens, the mobile casinos could not be hidden from the drones.

The police force simply viewed the footage from a kilometer away and built the evidence from the footage, which was subsequently released to a popular Chinese media site.

Of the 35 suspects, 13 people were taken into custody when they tried to run away from the police who arrived on the scene. Police were even able to use the live camera feed from the drone to locate these people. At the site of the mobile casino, they found about 30,000 yuan ($4,500) and various types of gambling equipment.

One of the suspects revealed that he had to sell his house because of his gambling debts, having lost more than 1 million yuan ($148,000). The organizer of this gambling den and his partner were both put under arrest. Another nine people were detained for further questioning.

Many provinces in China are using similar tactics to try and discourage gambling. For example, during the Chinese New Year holiday, drones were patrolling to deter locals from gambling in Guangdong Province.

Those caught attempting to make a living through their gambling could face jail time of as much as three years. Those actually running the venues could be looking at ten years in prison.