Gambling boss to spend 20 years in prison

Tian Shengjie
Court in the Pudong New Area says customers were forced to sign over their houses after racking up substantial debts that they were unable to pay back.
Tian Shengjie

A man who operated several gambling houses was sentenced to 20 years in jail for extortion, affray, picking quarrels and provoking trouble, a court in the Pudong New Area said on Tuesday.

Li Zijun was also deprived of his political rights for five years and fined two million yuan (US$296,800).

Eight people connected to the case were sentenced to between 20 years and two years and six months, the court said.

Between 2015 and 2017, Li run gambling houses in Pudong with others and lent money to customers to enable them to gamble.

They would be asked to sign IOUs for a higher amount of money than the actual figure.

If they could not pay the money back, Li and his accomplices would force them to sell their houses or transfer them into their names. 

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