Some 100 students at an exclusive Chinese school have been expelled on allegations of running up gambling debts of over GBP 100 000 (1 million yuan) in an illegal gambling ring, reports the UK newspaper The Telegraph this week.
Those expelled from the Tungwah Senior High School in Dongguan, a city in the southern province of Guangzhou, were all aged between 16 and 17 years old, the newspaper reports, and ran up the debts with local Cantonese bookmakers who had infiltrated the school and hired students to take orders and sign up gamblers.
Tungwah Senior is an exclusive boarding school with fees of up to 30 000 yuan a year, and the pupils were extended lavish lines of credit, since they could be easily found.
Gambling is illegal in China, but authorities have been powerless to stop the spread of online gaming and informal betting rings, comments The Telegraph. The students bet heavily on US basketball games, which are screened on television and have attracted a huge following in China.
"We sent text messages to the bookmaker with our bets. We didn't have to pay cash upfront," said one of the students, anonymously. "The bookmaker hired students on campus as agents, and they were responsible for collecting money and handing back our winnings every week. We could bet anything from 50 yuan to several thousand.
"Some students are from wealthy families, and they were able to pay back their debts. Others had no money and had to hide when the bookmaker came around. If they got caught, they were beaten up badly."