Hong Kong Police Continue Crack Down on Illegal Gaming, Local Cop Among Suspects
Posted on: April 14, 2021, 07:20h.
Last updated on: April 14, 2021, 10:01h.
A local police officer was among the 65 suspects apprehended during a weekend raid of an alleged illegal gambling joint located in Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong neighborhood.
The 28-year-old cop reportedly was suspended from his police job and will be investigated. He worked at the Cheung Sha Wan Police Station.
The officer was one of three suspected operators of an illicit poker room, according to the South China Morning Post, a regional newspaper, based on police allegations.
Officer Faces Up To Seven Years
The officer and his partners were charged with operating a gambling establishment. If found guilty, each could face a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a HK$5 million fine [US $643,186].
Four of those apprehended were alleged dealers at the gaming operation. The rest of those caught by police were suspected gamblers.
They ranged in age between 18 and 54. Most are in their 20s. Among them are students, a fashion designer, white-collar workers, as well as some people who are unemployed, the Post said.
Each of the suspects was released on bond.
Four poker tables were discovered inside the gambling operation. Police seized about HK$600,000 [US$77,182] in cash and gambling chips.
Also found were 20 decks of cards and assorted gambling paraphernalia.
The gambling joint was in operation for about a month. On a successful night, it could generate about HK$100,000 [US $12,865], police told the Post.
In a separate incident this past weekend, Hong Kong police apprehended 29 suspects in a second gambling raid.
In both raids, some of the suspects were also charged with violating social distancing rules. They were assembled too close together in the gambling den, given government rules stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then on Monday and Tuesday, a third series of gambling arrests took place in Hong Kong. Sixteen suspects were apprehended in connection with an alleged bookmaking and money laundering operation.
The suspects range in age between 21 and 56. Three of them are associated with a triad organized crime syndicate, police claim.
The illicit operation took in more than HK$180 million [US$23 million] in proceeds over 10 months, the Post reported.
Prior Hong Kong Gambling-Related Arrests
Still other gambling arrests took place in Hong Kong in recent months.
For instance, a police raid of a suspected luxury casino led to 16 arrests in December. Authorities also seized approximately HK$24 million (US$3 million) worth of chips, HK$215,000 (US $27,711) in currency, and 200 sets of playing cards from the operation.
Those apprehended included 11 suspects described as high rollers. They were arrested at the luxury apartment complex in the Tsim Sha Tsui retail district, the Post said.
Last November, an alleged triad leader known as “Shanghai Boy” was arrested as he returned to Hong Kong after more than two years on the run.
Kwok Wing-hung – the reputed former boss of the Wo Shing Wo triad society – was detained at Hong Kong airport after arriving on a flight from Thailand.
He was charged with conspiracy to wound, criminal damage, and criminal libel, on top of prior money laundering charges.
Kwok was believed to previously be a partner in VIP rooms at the MGM Macau and Melco Crown’s City of Dreams.