Corrupt Chinese Officials Gamble With Taxpayers' Money In Arcades

Arcades in China have an unfortunate association with gambling parlours, due to the fact that gambling in all forms is technically illegal in China proper, sans Macao. Normally, arcade gambling dens are deemed low class establishments where locals gamble away their money in backrooms, however one business executive for a Chinese State-owned enterprise ended up losing 2,560,000 yuan ($410,000) of public money.

After being caught for embezzlement, the executive is now in custody and public officials are trying to retrieve the funds. Zhang, a business executive for a large State-owned and publicly funded construction company in Xi'an, Shanxi province, had a penchant for gambling and embezzlement. Over the course of the last year, Zhang steadily stole money from the company coffers to use for gambling. According to the Xian city prosecutor's office, Zhang spent his money at three different arcade gambling dens around the city.

These arcade gambling dens that Zhang frequented are exactly what they sound/read like, a gambling den in a video game arcade. Keep in mind that gambling is illegal in the Chinese mainland, slot machines and poker tables are banned — these aren't similar to the pachinko parlours in Japan. The only real form of gambling that happens in China is mahjong parlours in residential buildings. It is commonly believed and accepted that arcade gambling dens are associated with organised crime.

Whenever the discrepancies with the books became an issue, Zhang would take the deposits of new construction projects to cover up the missing cash. In June this year, Zhang lost a total of $US19,000 at an arcade, he went ahead and took out $US128,000 out of the coffers for the construction of a university.

Zhang continued to take money from the company to fund his habit, until he took too much. After taking $192,000 out of another public university construction fund, details of Zhang's crimes began to leak out. Fearing arrest, Zhang attempted suicide. He survived.

The local government of Xi'an was able to recover a portion of Zhang's gambling money. It is presumed that the three arcades that Zhang visited are now closed. It sucks for the public whose money Zhang stole, but it also sucks for regular patrons of the arcades that housed the gambling dens.

国企主管挪公款赌博 查找游戏厅追回256万 [Xi'an Daily via People's Daily]


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