Gambling purge nets 700,000 - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Police carrying out a nationwide crackdown on gambling in China have detained or arrested more than 702,000 people, including 1,617 government officials, since the beginning of the year, the government has said.

The report by the official Xinhua news agency was the latest in a series of updates on the crackdown. Communist leaders say that gambling is aiding official corruption and organised crime.

According to the ministry of public security, 3,874 of the suspects were prosecuted, 1,479 were given prison sentences, 5,115 were being re-educated through labour and 105,000 remained in detention, Xinhua said.

In the six-month crackdown, police seized 2.33bn yuan (£165m) in gambling capital, it said.

China has appealed to neighbouring countries such as Russia and North Korea to close casinos along their borders

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