Mainland Chinese Gamblers Enjoy Big Gambles on the High Seas

December 26, 2005 12:00 am Last Updated: December 26, 2005 12:00 am

Gamblers from mainland China recently started to engage in a 'safer' and more convenient way of gambling. Along the waters off western Guangdong Province, a mysterious luxury cruise ship often emerges in the haze, carrying people who are rich or powerful from mainland China to the high seas among China, Vietnam and Malaysia where they can wholeheartedly enjoy the amusement and stimulants brought about by the big gambles.

Hong Kong Newspaper Wen Wei Po quoted insiders that taking a cruise ship to gamble on the high seas, a scene often seen in movies, has always been a favorite playing way for mainland gamblers. Besides being convenient and comfortable, it is also 'safe.' Gamblers only need to get on and off the ship in formal dress, and everything that happens on the ship is kept a secret.

Hong Kong and Macao, two cities that have fully developed the cruise ship gambling industry have become the 'sacred land' for mainland gamblers. However, since gambling is increasingly being banned in mainland China, some VIPs, especially some government officials, run the risk of being monitored while touring Hong Kong and Macao. The best possible case would be the opportunity for them to board a gambling ship right in front of their own houses. Embarking the mysterious cruise ship that emerges from the haze just off the coast of the mainland makes these people's wish come true.

A local person from western Guangdong Province is said to be the owner of the ship, which is registered as a Panama cruise ship. This ship was once used in the international tourist industry, but now that it has been purchased by a local person, its main business purpose is carrying people from the mainland to the high seas for gambling.

Once one boards the ship, one immediately enters a luxurious world. There are several floors on the ship, two of which contain cabins. There is a VIP reception desk and a health center. The major floor of the ship is an entertainment center with gaming machines, a dinning hall and a night club. The entertainment center has a small gambling room with approximately ten gambling tables for all kinds of gambling. Luxury suites and an open-air swimming pool are located on the top floor. Counting the number of the rooms available, the ship can hold at least five hundred people.

The style of entertaining and gambling on the ship were adopted from Hong Kong and Macao. However, doing business close to the mainland, one has to be extremely careful. As a first precaution, everyone has to go through a strict identity check in order to be able to board the ship as a passenger. In general, only the acquainted or those introduced by the acquainted will be accepted.

The ship's owner supposedly has organized a team of 'tour guides' on shore. This team is engaged in choosing and guiding the customers aboard. The owner also has an extraordinary relationship with the people on shore and ensures that passengers can safely board the ship.

According to several reports, passengers usually board the ship after dinner and the ship gets to its destination in about two hours. Once the ship has arrived at its destination, the passengers immediately engage in gambling and other amusement that is provided. After a whole night's carnival, the ship returns the next morning after breakfast. The passengers understand each other's wishes for privacy and keep the night a secret. After the ship pulls on to shore, everyone starts a new business day as usual. Until now, this mysterious cruise ship has been cruising freely and calmly in the seemingly black and dark ocean…