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Mastermind of China’s US$1.34 billion online gambling empire remains at large after Singapore’s August 15 crackdown

On August 15, Singapore authorities launched a major anti-money laundering operation, resulting in the arrest of 10 suspects. Notably, Wang Bingang, a mastermind in the illegal online gambling crime, reportedly remains at large after the crackdown.

Wang’s path to wealth began in 2012 at the age of 23 when he established the Hongli International (“鸿利国际”) gambling platform, operating from the Philippines and Cambodia.

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SINGAPORE:  On August 15, Singapore police conducted an extensive anti-money laundering operation, arresting 10 suspects in a significant crackdown.

The investigation, described as unprecedented in size and scope, now involves over S$2.4 billion in seized or frozen assets.

The ten individuals, originating from Fujian but with various nationalities, face charges related to money laundering stemming from their participation in international organized crime activities, including scams and online gambling operations.

Singaporean authorities are also intensifying their scrutiny of the assets and family connections of foreign suspects involved in this high-profile case.

According to the Singapore state media the Straits Times, a mastermind in the world of illegal online gambling, Wang Bingang, is among a number of individuals who managed to evade arrest in Singapore during the Aug 15 anti-money laundering blitz.

Wang Bingang (王斌刚), who amassed millions by operating illicit gambling services targeting Chinese players before 2015, remains at large despite the arrest of ten foreigners linked to his operations.

This brazen operation, known as Hongli International, thrived for years, drawing the attention of authorities both in China and abroad.

Wang reportedly resided in a luxurious bungalow on Rochalie Drive in Tanglin

At the time of the Singapore police operation, Wang Bingang, now 34, was residing in a luxurious rented bungalow on Rochalie Drive in Tanglin, believed to be shared with Wang Liyun, his supposed wife.

Despite the apprehension of ten foreigners associated with his operation, Wang Bingang’s family and domestic helper reportedly still occupy the residence.

The Straits Times reported that the domestic helper claimed the couple were in Singapore but not at home during the arrests.

Wang Bingang is a Chinese national but has Cambodian citizenship. His rise to notoriety began in 2012 when he was just 23 years old.

Originating from Anxi, Fujian, he quickly became a millionaire by running the Hongli International (“鸿利国际”) gambling site, based in the Philippines and Cambodia.

Wang Bingan joined Sentosa Golf Club in 2022

It was revealed that in 2022, Wang Bingang joined the prestigious Sentosa Golf Club, a club where foreign membership costs around S$950,000.

However, a notice dated September 12 displayed at the club indicated that he, along with five others implicated in the Singapore investigation, was placed on a defaulters’ list, suggesting unsettled financial obligations.

While Wang Bingang’s name does not appear in business records, Wang Liyun has interests in various businesses, including a bridal shop.

Both individuals found their names on a list of 34 provided by the Ministry of Law on August 27 to dealers in precious metals and stones, with the intention of flagging suspicious transactions potentially involving money laundering.

One of the arrested in S$2.4 billion case  linked to Wang’s illegal gambling empire

Interestingly, Wang Baosen, one of the arrested Fujian-born foreigners in the 15 August Singapore police islandwide raid, is also linked to Wang Bingang and the aforementioned high-profile case in China.

According to a Chinese media report, in 2014, Wang Baosen took on comprehensive management of the illegal gambling website and also financial work, and received a monthly base salary of 10,000 yuan, along with bonuses based on website profits at the time.

In 2015, Chinese media reported that several “managers” of an offshore gambling website aggressively expanded their network in China, In a short period, with the combined efforts of numerous downline affiliates, the website’s involved bets reached an astonishing 9.8 billion yuan (approximately US$ 1.34 billion).

Wang Bingang’s US$1.34 billion online gambling empire

The Chinese court ruling at the time revealed that Wang Bingang, also hails from Anxi County, Fujian Province, Despite having only a high school education, Wang Bingang possessed great intellectual agility.

Proficient in online operations, he played a central role in this case.

In late 2012, Wang Bingang and another suspect, Bai Zengyang (白增杨) agreed to establish the Hongli International Chinese website in Clark, the Philippines.

Taiwan’s Boeing Corporation was entrusted with the relevant technical work for the website platform. In January 2013, the website officially began operations.

The Hongli International website primarily engaged in real-time video online gambling, such as “Baccarat” and “Twenty-One,” as well as gambling projects like “Sports Events” and “Electronic Games.”

Its operational method involved providing a gambling platform for participants, requiring them to register as members using their real names and bank accounts, with each bet costing one Chinese yuan per point.

Top executives of Wang’s gambling website earn up to US$ 136 thousand annually

A suspect named Wang Cailin, nicknamed “temple block (木鱼),” is two years older than Wang Bingang, and they share the same hometown. Wang Cailin played a pivotal role. Similarly, with only a high school education, Wang Cailin served as the chief manager of the gambling website.

Wang Bingang and Bai Zengyang were responsible for financing, while Wang Cailin handled website technology and management. In August 2013, due to losses, Bai Zengyang withdrew from the website, and Wang Bingang continued to run it.

Wang Bingang was in charge of website promotion, advertising, and liaising with Taiwan’s Boeing Corporation.

Wang Cailin handled the day-to-day management of the website. In early 2014, when the website began to profit, Wang Bingang recruited Wang Xiaolong and Wang Baosen to work for the website.

Wang Bingang relocated the website operation to Cambodia in 2014

However, the Philippines began cracking down on online gambling enterprises due to reports of associated violent criminal activities, such as kidnappings and murders.

In March 2014, Wang Bingang relocated the website to Bavet, Cambodia, with Wang Cailin responsible for the specific moving process. Notably, Wang Cailin, Wang Baosen, and another accomplice Wang Xiaolong received a monthly base salary of 10,000 yuan, with additional bonuses from the website’s profits.

In late 2014, Chinese authorities have confirmed through remote verification that the Hongli International website had 23 publicly disclosed gambling accounts, and after the case was exposed, law enforcement agencies froze a total of 487 accounts suspected of being involved in gambling activities.

Wang Bingang’s partner, Wang Cailin was arrested on November 26, 2014, while on a trip from Cambodia to Xiamen, China, with his pregnant girlfriend. Initially uncooperative, he later disclosed the identity of Wang Bingang, who was the mastermind behind the operation.

Wang Bingang, a Chinese national with Cambodian citizenship, remained hidden in the Tian Tian Fishing Port hotel in Bavet until February 2015, eluding capture due to the legality of online gambling in Cambodia at the time.

Eventually, he was arrested on February 16, 2015, and repatriated to China on February 25.

The Chinese court held that Wang Bingang, along with other five individuals, constituted the crime of establishing a gambling den, and the case involved a total wager amount of over 190 million yuan (approximately 25.9 million), with gambling funds exceeding 980 million yuan, reflecting the seriousness of the offense.

the court sentenced Wang Bingang to three years in prison and imposed a fine of 3 million yuan, which was to end on Feb 15, 2018.

Wang Baosen was investigated in relation to the case, but there is no information about his court trial or sentence.

Court hearing revealed Wang Baosen is the cousin of a fugitive known as “Subject Y” 

Fast forward to present day, in a recent court hearing, Singapore police disclosed that Wang Baosen is the cousin of a fugitive known as “Subject Y.”

Wang Baosen currently faces two money laundering charges connected to funds originating from illegal remote gambling.

Police claim to have seized or issued orders prohibiting the disposal of over $100 million worth of assets in Singapore linked to Subject Y.

The prosecutor earlier also exposed that Wang Bosen had orchestrated the establishment of his wife’s company to secure her an employment pass (EP) in Singapore.

Another key suspect founded a Philippines-based gambling empire a decade ago

The Hongli gang isn’t the sole foreign syndicate under investigation in Singapore.

Authorities are also probing potential ties between several of the ten individuals apprehended and the Heng Bo Bao Wang group.

Among those detained in Singapore, 42-year-old Vang Shuiming is believed to have affiliations with this syndicate. Vang currently faces charges in Singapore, including one for forgery and four for money laundering.

Vang reportedly established a gambling website in the Philippines between 2012 and 2013, and by 2016, Vang had accumulated a substantial amount of capital and initiated an expansion phase.

At its zenith, Vang allegedly employed a workforce of 10,000 people, with a monthly payroll exceeding S$20 million.

Police investigations have previously disclosed that Vang, originally from Fujian, China, had over S$200 million in assets confiscated by authorities, which included a staggering S$962,000 in cash discovered at his residence.

The prosecutor further revealed in the High Court that Vang had acquired a total of 11 properties.

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Funnily enough, he slipped and evaded any from of capture. If it was a critic of the PAP, the poor soul would have ben caught in an hour or so and charges read to him.

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