HK man jailed after losing Chinese Internet bet: state media

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BEIJING (AFP) - A Hong Kong man has been jailed for eight years in China for running the nation's biggest online gambling racket which hauled in more than 1.25 billion dollars in bets, according to state media.

Tam Chi-Wai employed more than 3,000 people to run his illegal websites and perform other duties such as hiding the profits in clean bank accounts, Xinhua news agency said, citing the High Court in southwest China's Yunnan province.

The court upheld an eight-year sentence handed down by a lower court in June, and fined him 20 million yuan (1.9 million dollars), Xinhua reported, without saying when the final judgement was delivered.

Tam's online gambling network earned more than 278 million yuan from about 8.68 billion yuan in bets before it was busted, making it the biggest such racket detected in China, Xinhua said.

He began his empire nearly 10 years ago in Myanmar, which borders Yunnan and where many Chinese go to bet in casinos as gambling is illegal in China.

Tam then started developing his Internet gambling network in China with servers based in various southern Chinese cities.

He oversaw many websites, with one alone attracting 5,198 registered users between August 2006 and March last year, Xinhua said, without giving further details about other sites or the types of betting.

No other information was given about Tam.

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