Shady deals, transactions linked to Chinese firms being probed in gamers\' suicide

The payments were being routed through India-based payment service providers or gateways like PayTM and Cash Free

In the second week of July this year, T Madhukar (24) of Lakshettipet in Mancherial died by suicide. The reason: He lost Rs 15 lakh to fraudsters in an online gaming — Dafabet. Madhukar had borrowed the money from his friends. He was depressed over the loss and ended his life. But Madhukar was not the only one to have lost money.

Like him, there were three more persons who ended their lives in separate incidents — one in Narsingi police limits, the other in Sanjeevareddy Nagar while the third victim belonged to Chennai — all of whom lost several lakhs of rupees.

As the investigators are digging out the shady deals and transactions involving the Chinese firm — Beijing T Power company — whose Head of Operations for South East Asia, Yah Hao 3 was arrested by the Hyderabad police recently, the sleuths have now launched a parallel probe to ascertain whether the four victims of online gaming fraud were cheated by the Chinese company. If links are established between the victims and Yah Hao's companies, the Chinese national will be in for more trouble as the police have decided to charge him and other accused with abetment to suicide in each of the four cases.

Interestingly, while the world was dealing with the deadly Covid-19, which originated from China, Chinese companies like Beijing T Power were minting money during the lockdown period as transactions of this company — as reflected in the bank transactions — skyrocketed between March and July as people who remained indoors invested heavily, only to suffer losses. The total value of inward transaction traced is over Rs 1,100 crores, a majority of which was during the lockdown due to the pandemic this year.

Sources told Deccan Chronicle that the mobile phones of the victims will be examined to ascertain whether they placed bets in the companies linked to the Chinese firms, whose effort was to constantly establish new companies and more operations from one company to the other.

To lure the gamers initially, the stakes would be in the ratio of 7: 3, which means that the gamer would win seven out of 10 times and would lose the remaining three. Subsequently, the company had programmed its systems in the reverse, that is 3: 7 ratio and this is when many started losing large amounts of money.

It is learnt that while the probe is on to ascertain whether the three suicides in Telangana are linked to these Chinese company, sources said that some evidence linking the victim with the accused company has emerged in the suicide in Chennai. The Hyderabad police are in touch with their counterparts in Chennai even as they are out on the trail of the transactions of the victims in Telangana. The website on which they placed the bets, the payment gateways, details of their bank accounts are among the aspects that are under investigation. So far, suspicious death cases have been registered in connection with the suicides and once it is proved that it were these Chinese companies that had cheated them, abetment to suicide will be registered.

While the online gaming was being organised by initiating prospective gamers through telegram groups and the admins of these groups would usually indicate the websites on which the registered members can play games and place bets, these websites were being changed on a daily basis. Players would place bets on colours in a game called '''colour prediction.''

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