Saturday, October 1, 2022

Hong Kong Influencer Faces Seven Years in Jail Over Illegal Gambling Promotion

The South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong police have conducted an arrest of a 26-year-old social media influencer who is allegedly tied to illegal gambling. Authorities carried a raid and apprehended So Mei-yan, also known by other monikers as Cry So or So Miu-Miu.

The arrest occurred earlier this week on Monday and was prompted by the influencer’s alleged ties to an illegal online sportsbook that she supposedly promoted. Hong Kong police officers arrested Mei-yan at her home in Cheung Sha Wan, and she now faces up to seven years in jail, aside from a financial penalty, both of which are yet to be determined.

Careful What You Wish For

Mei-yan, the report said, had recorded herself visiting a prohibited gambling website which was not mentioned in the report. The website offered a number of games, including slots, blackjack, roulette, and live games, which Mei-yan supposedly explored in brief and then uploaded her videos on her social media account which prompted the police into action.

However, police did not apprehend her for simply visiting but rather coming back repeatedly and spending money. She spent a total of HK$300,000 ($264,000) over the course of a month. The South China Morning Post claims that Mei-yan was promoting the sportsbook, which is in itself the problem.

While illegal gambling is penalized by a maximum penalty of nine months in jail and an HK30,000 fine ($3,850), promoting an illegal gambling website carries a stiffer penalty of HK$5 million ($641,000) fine and up to seven years in prison. Her fate now rests with Hong Kong’s judiciary system which will decide whether Mei-yan should be made a public example of.

China has been exerting its clout in the region, clamping down on cross-border gambling with a renewed zeal that could set up Mei-yan as an example of what happens when laws are ever so subtly circumnavigated.

More Personal Crisis for Young Mei-yan

Shining a light on oneself may feel good, but it often carries risks. Online stalking is one of those, but even more dangerously, there are criminals who are studying your social media account and weigh the pros and cons of burglarizing you.

Mei-yan did not save her social feed much, making her lush lifestyle a very public affair indeed, which led to burglars entering her home and stealing a total of HK$3.6 million ($461,000) worth of belongings back in 2020. Police managed to catch up with the culprits only a month after.

Both accidents made Mei-yan even more popular than before and while it made her feel safer from burglars and criminal gangs, it apparently led her down another road. For all that the report says, Mei-yan may have been as much a victim of the promotion of the online sportsbook as she was during the burglary episode. She might not have known that her actions were illegal or commanded the stiff penalties that she now faces.

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