Involved transaction volume of 400 billion RMB, the first case of virtual currency in the country has been solved

Source: Ping An Hubei

On July 18th, it was learned from the Public Security Bureau of Shayang County, Jingmen City, Hubei Province that the main suspects, including Qiu Moumou, who were involved in a cross-border online gambling case with a transaction volume of 400 billion RMB, have been brought to trial in accordance with the law. For this moment, the police officers of the special task force fought for two years.

Mobile Gambling Alert Reveals Shocking Case

“Officer, I’m reporting a case, please save me. I’m about to lose everything because of gambling on my phone!”

On July 28th, 2021, Xiong Mou from Shayang County, Hubei Province, reported a case to Jishan Police Station. No one expected that a shocking case of cross-border online gambling would be uncovered.

Xiong Mou likes to play games on his phone in his spare time. One day in June, he saw a colleague playing a card game on their phone and winning thousands of yuan after recharging only 100 yuan. This made him envious. Xiong Mou immediately downloaded the app called “XXX Card Game” and quickly won some money. After playing for a while, the bets became larger and the chances of winning became smaller. In the end, he lost over 100,000 yuan.

“728 Task Force” dismantles the proxy gang and seizes computers, mobile phones, and other tools used for the crime

As the investigation progressed, the police officers of Shayang County Public Security Bureau realized that this was by no means a seemingly simple case of using a mobile app for online gambling. The large number of people involved, the wide geographical area, the huge amount of funds, and the complexity of the money laundering methods were unheard of for these county-level police officers.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the transaction volume of this online gambling case reached 400 billion RMB, and there were over 50,000 people involved. The servers were set up overseas, and the money laundering methods used the most difficult-to-trace virtual currency. The key members of the case may be overseas…”

After listening to the briefing on the case by the Shayang County Public Security Bureau, Chen Shi, the Deputy Mayor of Jingmen City and Director of the Public Security Bureau, immediately ordered the mobilization of elite police forces to form the “728” task force together with the investigation team of the Shayang County Public Security Bureau.

As the investigation of the case deepened, it was successively identified by higher-level departments as a provincial and ministerial-level case.

Challenging Investigation Gives Rise to Classic Strategies

The uniqueness of new types of cybercrime made traditional investigative techniques “ineffective”.

“It’s not simple, it’s difficult!” The leader of the “728” task force, Ma Jun, felt immense pressure. As the investigation progressed, the investigators faced the difficult challenge of navigating through this complex and labyrinthine criminal network.

– Online gambling disguised as a card game, servers set up overseas to evade crackdowns; tens of thousands of people involved in gambling, making investigation and evidence collection difficult!

— The backbone of the criminal gang commands from overseas, developing hundreds of subordinate agents domestically, making it difficult to lock and difficult to arrest!

— Online game bean recharge, traditional bank card bulk circulation, fourth-party payment platform settlement, virtual currency whitewashing, disguising and repeatedly circulating gambling funds, making it difficult to associate and difficult to trace!

For a while, the investigation of the case was met with obstacles and difficulties at every turn.

The task force repatriated three suspects including Qiu from overseas

“Knowing that we were approaching the crucial core and about to find the main backbone of the suspect gang, we always felt like there was a layer of veil that we couldn’t uncover.” The police officers of the task force tirelessly traced the flow of personnel, information, and funds, but they were stuck at key points.

“All under heaven are for their own interests, all under heaven are for their own gains.” A sentence from Zheng Daiping, the deputy county mayor and director of the Public Security Bureau of Shayang County, enlightened the police officers of the task force.

“In this case, whether it is the organizational structure of the suspect gang or the circulation network of fund transfers, they are as intricately intertwined as human blood vessels. However, they must have cross points between the capillaries and main arteries, ultimately flowing into the heart of the fund pool. The funds are the blood of this case. As long as we focus on the blood, follow and investigate it, we will definitely find the key to the case!”

A statement by Yan Yintao, the backbone investigator of the task force, enlightened his comrades who had been analyzing massive amounts of data for months but achieved little success. Thus, a groundbreaking technique for combating new types of online crimes, the “fund penetration method,” was born!

Massive data collisions to lock the criminal path

After determining the investigation train of thought of the “fund penetration method,” the case cracking process was like installing a GPS navigation system, efficient, accurate, and unstoppable.

Suspect organizational structure diagrams were posted and associated on the case analysis whiteboard.

Gambling fund flow diagrams intersected and aggregated in the computer database.

Suspect gang backbones were located and manifested in the minds of investigators…

The police officers of the task force meticulously analyzed the massive transaction data, ultimately successfully locking the fund chain and related suspects. Multiple gambling agent, recharge agent, and intermediary agent gangs hidden across the country gradually surfaced.

The scene of the arrest operation carried out by police officers of the task force in Sichuan Province

From December 2021 to April 2022, the special police task force successively carried out arrest operations in Fujian, Sichuan, Guangxi, Henan, and other places, and destroyed 14 related criminal groups, arresting more than 130 suspects. They confiscated more than 300 computers and mobile phones involved in the case, as well as more than 200 mobile phone cards, 200 bank cards, 18 money counting machines, and 18 POS machines.

During the interrogation, the police found that all the transactions of the gambling participants were settled using a virtual currency. The task force followed the clues and successfully identified multiple virtual currency accounts involved in the case. The task force coordinated with the issuing institution of the virtual currency and froze the relevant accounts, preventing the transfer of virtual currency worth 160 million US dollars (approximately 1 billion RMB) to the hands of the criminal group.

In October 2022, the People’s Court of Shayang County made a judgment to confiscate part of the frozen virtual currency according to the law. This case became the first case in the country where virtual currency was confiscated through a court ruling.

To catch the thieves, we must catch the leader: Cross-border arrest of the main suspect

After nearly two years of arduous investigation, the veil of this online gambling case was finally lifted, but three main suspects are still at large overseas. To catch the thieves, we must catch the leader. The members of the task force were determined and launched the final “sprint”, quietly embarking on a battle of wits and bravery for cross-border arrest…

With the support and coordination of the Ministry of Public Security, the “728” task force initiated international judicial cooperation, and the Hubei Provincial Public Security Department led the 5 members of the task force to go abroad for pursuit.

“This is a tough battle. We have overcome various unprecedented challenges and successfully coped with them.” The members of the task force introduced that they strictly followed the relevant laws and regulations in conducting their work overseas and actively communicated and cooperated with foreign law enforcement agencies.

The overseas arrest operation received strong assistance and support from our country’s foreign affairs agencies in that country. After twists and turns and 59 difficult days, the cross-border law enforcement finally achieved satisfactory results. In December 2022, the three main suspects hiding overseas were captured and subsequently repatriated.

In June 2023, the main suspect Qiu Moumou and others were transferred to Shayang County People’s Court by the People’s Procuratorate of Shayang County in accordance with the law, and the case entered the trial stage. At this point, this national “first virtual currency case” finally came to an end under the efforts of the task force.

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