Police in the Thai city of Pattaya (pictured above) arrested 42 people and seized approximately $ 15 million in assets after an illegal gambling hall raid in a four-star hotel room. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Officers arrest 42
Thai police seized tables, card games and gambling chips worth around 500 million yen (US $ 15 million) and arrested 42 people after a raid on a hotel room in Pattaya , The Thaiger rreports.
Officers also seized guns from dealers during Tuesday’s raid which took place around 8:30 p.m.
Pattaya News posted images of the raid on the four-star Le Vernissage hotel in North Pattaya on Facebook.
The 42 people detained are now facing gambling charges, which is illegal under Thai law. According to Pattaya City Police Chief Colonel Kunlachart Kunlachai, officers acted on a court warrant and discovered dozens of players playing baccarat. Media reports suggest that none of the players wore face masks. Police have also seized surveillance cameras in the room, which they will investigate for further evidence.
Pattaya Police on a Roll
The Le Vernissage raid comes just days after another attack on an illegal gambling den in a luxury condominium, also in Pattaya. The Christmas Day raid, which resulted in 18 arrests, was once again a Pattaya police operation led by Col. Kunlacchart.
the sums generated in the illegal den amounted to millions of baht
Officers arrested 14 women and four men and seized various gaming accessories. Among those detained, three were staff from the casino den. According to Initiated to the game, Kunlachart estimated that the sums generated in the illegal den amount to millions of baht.
IG quotes Thai police as saying that den employees each received 500 baht ($ 15) per day, while players were required to pay 1,000 baht ($ 29.83) each as an entrance fee in order to participate in the game. Cost of each gaming session varied depending on the game played and the amount wagered.
The investigation is ongoing and the police are looking for leads as to the real owner of the illegal operation. Authorities have not named the luxury condo in light of further investigations and legal proceedings.
Fears and hopes
The fact that the 42 people arrested in the Vernissage raid were not wearing masks reveals how seriously Thai law enforcement takes the mandatory order to wear face coverings in all indoor and outdoor public spaces.
Authorities in Thailand believe illegal gambling dens are contributing to the spread of COVID-19, with infections in Rayong and Chonburi leading to many businesses shutting down in 2020.
In January 2021, the chairman of the main government panel on illegal gambling, Chanchao Chaiyanukij, formed three new sub-committees to tackle illegal gambling operations. Also in January, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said he was ready to consider a legal gambling market for the Southeast Asian country.
Across the South China Sea in July, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte made a surprising about-face in his historic stance on the game, proclaiming, “Go ahead and play.”