China Arrests 13 South Koreans for Illegally ‘Enticing’ Chinese to Casinos

Reports from China’s state television (CCTV) say that authorities there have arrested 13 South Korean casino managers and 34 Chinese recruiting agents on suspicion of luring Chinese citizens into gambling in South Korea.

According to the CCTV report, the probe was launched in June to investigate activities of “criminal gangs” from five different South Korean casinos, who “enticed” men in China with sexual services, free tours and free accommodations, said Reuters.

Allegations say that High rollers were even offered packages that promised sex with aspiring Korean actresses or models –with varying duration based on the amount of chips purchased.


A spokesman for South Korea’s Paradise casino confirmed that 6 of the 13 detained Koreans were its employees.

Gambling –and its promotion– are both illegal in mainland China. However, China’s citizens are well known as being some of the world’s most prolific gamblers, traveling often to Macau, the Philippines, Australia and South Korea.

According to the South Korean tourism ministry, the 13 arrested Koreans are employees of Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd (GKL) and Paradise Co Ltd, though they said it was unclear with what they had been charged.

A spokesman for South Korea’s Paradise confirmed that 6 of the 13 detained Koreans were its employees, according to Reuters. However, the company said that its representatives were not involved in providing any of the illicit services described in the media report.


Story broadcast across China

The story broke on China’s CCTV on Monday, with the broadcast reporting that 80 percent of gamblers that visit Jeju are from China and alleged that they are often lured with the promise of free tour programs, hotel rooms and sex with prostitutes.

According Korean media reports, a casino contract shown on the CCTV program promised clients purchasing 100,000 won ($87.53) worth of chips a free special massage.

For high rollers willing to spend 36 million won ($31,510) worth of chips they would have the opportunity to sleep with an aspiring Korean actress or model, and buying 90 million won ($78,700) worth of chips would get them three days with a model.

Jeju Island Casino Korea

Jeju Island Casino – Wikicommons

Some Korean casino offices in China were raided by police in June. CCTV said that the 13 Koreans and 34 Chinese recruiters were charged with illegally luring gamblers in Beijing, Shanghai, Hebei and Jiangsu.

Reports say that Chinese police also found W5.5 billion ($4.4 million) in illegal gambling money.

According to CCTV’s investigative report, Korean representatives paid Chinese recruiters get 1.6 percent of the value of chips gamblers bought while in Korea and another W$31,500 if the gamblers they recruited lose $150,5 or more.

Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reported an official at the Chinese consulate in Jeju saying. “There has been a sharp increase in the number of Chinese tourists who are threatened by loan sharks or having their passports confiscated after borrowing money from operators near casinos.”

Criminal Law in China dictates that those who receive commissions for recruit more than 10 Chinese citizens to gamble overseas will be given sentences of up to 10 years in jail.

South Korea is home to 17 casinos run by 14 casino operators, three of those are Paradise or its affiliates.

Gambling primarily aimed at foreign tourists and is tightly restricted for Koreans themselves who are permitted to gamble in only one of the country’s 17 casinos. Koreans are additionally forbidden from gambling abroad –though the law for Korean travelers is said to rarely be enforced.

Impact on tourism?

Though CCTV is broadcast across China, it is too soon to say how the allegations will affect Chinese perceptions of tourism to South Korea. The Chinese are far and away the country’s biggest tourist market with the most recent numbers from the Korean Tourism Organization showing that 513,275 Chinese tourists visited South Korea in August alone.

The Staff

The Staff

Gettin' it done, when the done needs gettin'.

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