Friday, October 26, 2018

Thai Police Gambling Raid Flops, Elderly Man in Custody

Casino News Daily
Thai Police Gambling Raid Flops, Elderly Man in Custody

A massive joint operation of the police in Phuket and the Royal Thai Army has failed spectacularly as officers were conducting a raid on an illegal gambling den. On Thursday evening, local law enforcement raided the underground facility but the only person arrested was an elderly man, who simply could not run away.

Unlike many gambling dens uncovered by the police in Thailand, this venue was well-organized and furnished like a real casino, as evident from the photos published by the authorities. On Friday, the Phuket News reported that the raid was carried out on the evening of October 25 by at least 15 officers of the Kathu Police. They were accompanied by Royal Thai Army soldiers from the 25th Military Circle. This is a division stationed in Phuket, the largest island and province of Thailand.

The illegal gambling facility was in a building located in Division 3 at the rear of the Phuket Villa Kathu housing estate. It was raided after authorities received information that gambling operations were conducted on the site, the Phuket News writes, citing Kathu Police Chief Jakkawat Thaweekulsawad. According to him, however, gamblers quickly fled the scene right before the arrival of the law enforcement.

As a result, no arrests have been made, with one strange exception – a 72-year-old man who apparently was the “gambling manager”. The man, named as Somchai “Jeap” Onpanyasin, was the only person in custody simply because he could not run away from the police. He was taken in for questioning, the police confirmed, adding that five decks of cards along with THB8,700 (approx. US$263) in cash were seized from the place.

Will Thailand Allow Gambling?

Phuket is not only a Thai province, but it is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. The island is packed with hotels and seaside resorts, restaurants, nightclubs, and markets. Gambling, however, is banned in the country and at the same time, it is extremely widespread among locals. Thousands of Thai gamblers travel to the nearby Cambodian city of Poipet, which is located just on the other side of the border and offers them legal casino gaming and betting.

Thousands of other locals, on the other hand, prefer gambling in illegal casinos, established temporarily across Phuket. This week’s raid, for instance, may have not been particularly successful but it uncovered that the gambling den was set up for the game of “Eighty-Nine”. This is a traditional card game, which is popular among the Thais and, of course, it is prohibited by law.

In fact, almost all forms of gambling are banned in the country, with only bets on horse races and the lottery allowed. Still, gambling remains a huge part of local culture and life, which is why authorities have considered legalizing casinos. There have been multiple attempts for coming up with a new legislation that would remove the prohibition set in the Gambling Act 1935.

Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra planned to legalize a casino in Pattaya but the 2006 coup put an end to the plans. In 2016, senior government officials have expressed their approval of introducing legal casinos in the country. No further steps have been made, however. Many politicians have said that legalizing casinos would only bring in tax revenues and would not have a negative impact on the economy or the local communities, as illegal gambling is already widespread. For now, casinos and gambling remain prohibited.

The post Thai Police Gambling Raid Flops, Elderly Man in Custody appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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