Guo Meimei faces gambling charge
Updated: 2014-08-21 06:50
By Zhang Yan(China Daily)
Guo Meimei, the 23-year-old woman whose online posts unfairly tarnished the reputation of the Red Cross Society of China three years ago, was formally arrested on a charge of operating a gambling house, the Beijing Dongcheng district people's procuratorte said on Wednesday.
On July 9, Beijing police uncovered an Internet soccer gambling gang, allegedly headed by Guo, during the World Cup, and arrested eight gamblers.
The police accused the criminal gang of opening accounts in overseas gambling websites and betting through phone calls and WeChat. Guo was also on suspicion of involving in sex trade.
"Considering the crime facets and evidence, the prosecutors accused her of setting up the gambling house rather than providing sex services," said Xu Yongjun, a judge from the criminal tribunal under the Supreme People's Court.
Xu said that according to China's Criminal Procedure Law, those who provide sex services aren't criminally charged, but are considered in violation of the public security management regulation.
"In this way, offenders will be detained for re-education or punished with fines," he said.
But if one is suspected of introducing or providing shelters for others to engage in prostitution, they will be criminally charged, he said.
In mid-2011, Guo became notorious nationwide when she claimed on social media that she was operating an organization under the auspices of the Red Cross, and publicly flaunted her wealth and extravagant lifestyle.
Even though Guo had no affiliation with the Red Cross, her posts triggered concerns on how the State-owned charitable organization used donations. The Red Cross has struggled to regain the public's trust since.
The Red Cross said earlier this month that some institutions and people had made up rumors against it, and decided to strengthen supervision of its members and improve transparency.
"We have a 110-year history and will continue to improve our brand-building capability, information sharing and management, and provide better services to the public," a Red Cross statement said.
After being detained by Beijing police last week, Guo confessed her crimes and acknowledged that she had nothing to do with the Red Cross. She apologized to the group and the public.
Li Wei, a lawyer in Beijing who specializes in handling criminal cases, said those convicted of operating gambling houses face prison terms of up to 10 years in serious cases.