16 foreigners, 5 Thais arrested in Pattaya for illegal gambling

Pattaya police have arrested 16 foreigners and 5 Thais for illegal gambling in a Pattaya condo. They raided the Espana Condominium & Resort at 1am yesterday morning, arresting the lawbreakers, after receiving a tip that an illegal gambling casino was being hosted at the condo.

Officials found 21 people gambling inside rooms 517 and 518 located on the 5th floor. The people included 14 Chinese nationals, 5 Thais, a Cambodian and a Singaporean. Gambling chips, tables and cards were found and seized by officials.

An officer involved in the raid says the operation was part of a policy to contain the spread of Covid-19. After an initial investigation, police found that 5 of the Chinese nationals had overstayed their visas, and the Cambodian had illegally entered Thailand. All of those arrested were ordered to take Covid-19 tests.

In light of the recent findings of illegal gambling dens in Bangkok and the eastern provicens, Thailand’s national police chief transferred the commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 2 to an inactive position after illegal gambling dens in his region were found. Thailand’s deputy PM, Prawit Wongsuwan also scoffed at the very idea of illegal casinos and gambling dens existing in Thailand but has since walked back his comments.

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The transfer circled around reports on gambling dens in Rayong, Chon Buri, Chanthaburi and Trat provinces, which led 4 police commanders of those provinces to be transferred out of their posts.

The national police chief has formed a committee to investigate the illegal gambling dens in Rayong and Chon Buri provinces after it was found that the gatherings were spreading Covid-19. The committee will also investigate if any local police officers were involved in allowing the illegal activities to continue, by way of bribe or leniency.

Now, officials are warning of stricter punishments for those involved in gambling, with a new order making it possible to penalise people who conceal their travel histories in Thailand.

Thailand’s Public Health Minister has also mulled making lawbreakers pay for their own Covid-19 treatment as he says it takes away from others’ medical treatment who did not contribute to the virus’ spread.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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