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Thai Authorities Arrest Policemen for Ignoring Illegal Casinos
Thailand faces a double challenge – not only contending with imposters posing as cops to fuel their gambling habits, but also grappling with genuine police officers who turn a blind eye to illicit casinos operating right under their noses. In a bid to restore integrity to the police force, the nation is intensifying its crackdown on officers who shirk their responsibilities. In a recent move, five senior cops have been reassigned due to their failure to take action against an unlawful casino. This lack of oversight allowed several illicit gambling establishments to evade punishment, prompting authorities to take action.
Unveiling a Den of Deceit
A complaint lodged with the authorities shed light on the 89 CLUB, nestled in central Thailand’s Muang district. The Kanchanaburi province’s police chief, Thawatchai Pongwiwattanachai, announced a significant decision to address this issue. He issued orders on Thursday to reassign the five officers to non-executive roles as a response.
Exposing Illicit Operations and Taking Action
Responding to the complaint, law enforcement stormed the 89 CLUB premises, revealing a brazen array of sophisticated and hazardous gambling activities occurring almost in plain sight. With a capacity of up to 300 patrons, the casino had only one exit, raising safety concerns.
Among the diverse gambling options offered at 89 CLUB were Dragon Tiger card games, Hi-Lo, and baccarat. Although official figures are unavailable, it is estimated that around 100 individuals frequented the casino daily. The establishment took stringent precautions, employing an extensive surveillance system consisting of about a dozen strategically positioned CCTV cameras. Moreover, patrons were required to surrender their phones upon entry for added security.
The raid led to the apprehension of 104 individuals, including both croupiers and customers. Seizures included a substantial amount of cash, gambling paraphernalia, and vehicles.
All those apprehended, along with the seized evidence, were transported to a local police station. The detainees now face an array of charges, ranging from participation in illegal gambling to involvement in its operations. Another location mentioned in the complaint was the Phattarawan Snooker Club, situated in the same Muang district. However, it remains unclear whether a raid was conducted at this establishment.
The Struggle Against a Tainted Image
Pongwiwattanachai expressed his deep concern over the damage inflicted on the city’s reputation by these underground operations and complicit officers. To send a clear message, the police chief opted for reassignment rather than publicly accusing the five high-ranking officials of direct involvement in the gambling ring. This strategic reshuffling serves as a proactive measure to fortify the police force against corrupt practices, ensuring that officers steer clear of any dubious ventures. Alongside this internal cleanup, efforts are underway to potentially enhance the image of the police force by expanding regulated gambling options. While discussions surrounding legalized casinos have been ongoing for two years, progress remains gradual and incremental.