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China arrests Betex executives

Shares, software in limbo

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House of Cards In a cryptic press release issued Wednesday, China-facing Betex reported that two of its senior staff in Beijing had been arrested and another was a fugitive in Jilin province. The company suspended trading in its shares on the AIM market in response to the uncertainty.

Betex, which develops mah jong software and operates lotteries on the mainland and a website oriented toward wagering on Asian football, said it believed the arrests were related to the individual actions of the men, rather than the legality of its software. Betex suspended sales of its software in China until further notice.

Betex did state that "the company is working with its legal advisers to obtain information regarding the status of the investigation and is assisting the authorities wherever possible".

In light of China's recent moves against internet gaming of all sorts, Betex's rush to gain a foothold in the potentially enormous Chinese market might turn out to be a bit premature.

It certainly must seem so for the executives, whether they are on the run or wallowing apparently incommunicado in a Chinese jail. ®

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