China’s National Immigration Administration (NIA) will strictly enforce an immigration policy to restrict non-essential outbound travel of Chinese citizens, citing COVID-19. The NIA has also requested that restrictions be tightened on so-called “gambling-related persons,” in an effort to “keep gambling-related persons within [mainland China] to the maximum extent possible.”
While a statement released after a 10 May NIA meeting mentioned the restriction of non-essential outbound activities of Chinese citizens was related to the epidemic in Shanghai and Beijing, mentioning “strictly preventing people stranded outside the country from arriving and gathering at the border, entering illegally to bring in COVID”, it also mentioned “strictly combatting illegal entry and exit activities, cutting off the main channels of illegal entry and exit at border areas, and severely combatting cross-border illegal crimes.”
The meeting addressed “gambling-related problems,” saying that the cross-border gambling crackdown should be strengthened, the management of entry and exit document issuance should be strictly controlled, questioning and verification should be strengthened, and the issuance of entry and exit documents should be denied to those who are suspected of gambling-related crimes and persons with “legally inadmissible circumstances.” The NIA also said entry and exit documents held by a group of cross-border gamblers “should be declared null and void in accordance with the law,” to maximize the control of gamblers.
The mainland government has strengthened the inspection of people entering and exiting the country and is closely screening and verifying the identity and background of “suspicious people.” It is promptly investigating those found to be outbound gamblers and working with public security authorities to strengthen education and dissuasion.
The NIA pointed out that since 2021, some 11,000 fraudulent cases involving illegal exit gambling have been detected, 15,000 “illegal exit gamblers” have been intercepted, 290 groups organizing illegal exit gambling activities have been dismantled, and nearly 90,000 suspected “exit gamblers” have been found and dissuaded from leaving the country.
In addition, some mainland news outlets are reporting that the Ministry of Public Security will strengthen the prevention of illegal and criminal activities and not grant visas to those who travel to Hong Kong and Macau more than three times in a year, have overstayed in Macau in the past three years, or have travelled to Macau at least three times per year in 2019, 2020 or 2021.