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High school students suspended for betting on NBA games
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2009-02-27 10:09
Thirty high school students in south China's Guangdong Province have been suspended after they were suspected of gambling on NBA games, local education authorities said Thursday.

The 10th and 11th grade students at Donghua Senior High School in Dongguan City, were suspected of betting on NBA games, said Wang Xuhui, deputy head of the municipal education bureau, at a press conference.

The school ordered them to stay at home indefinitely on Monday and Tuesday.

Students who gambled, stole or took drugs should be expelled according to the school regulations, said Jiang Tao, head of the school ideological and political education department.

Those suspected of gambling were to be suspended pending an investigation, he said.

He did not say how long their investigation would last.

"We all like basketball. We watch NBA games together and bet with our cellphones," said a student surnamed Chen. "I never thought it would have such serious consequences."

"We use our cellphones to access the Internet and bet on a website. The agent gives you the money if you win and ask for money each week if you lose," said a student on condition of anonymity.

The minimum bet was 50 yuan (7.3 U.S. dollars), he said.

Basketball is popular in Dongguan, the home of professional basket ball team Hongyuan Basketball Club. Yi Jianlian, a basketball player in the New Jersey Nets, once played in the club.

Statistics from the club show the number of basketball courts in Dongguan exceeds 26,000. Almost every village, school or community has its own basketball court.

Parents were anxious at the school's decision as they found it hard to transfer their children to other schools because the new semester has just begun.

"How come the school is so harsh? It did not offer any chance for the kids to correct their mistakes," said a father surnamed Mo, at the school gate on Wednesday morning, hoping the school could give his son a second chance.

"He has not been in a good mood in the past two days. Sometime he cries silently," Mo said. "I am worried he will take things too hard or even try to commit suicide."

Wang Xuhui suggested the school admonish the students or give demerits and educate them.

"Simply expelling them is not a good way," he said.

Undesirables used the students' love of NBA to make money and the education bureau was working with the police to crack down on the gambling, he said.

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