SCORES of Indian gamblers were rounded up in a raid on a well-known Pattaya hotel soon after midnight (May 1) with a conference hall having been turned into a casino and over 200 million baht found in circulation while the tour operator claimed to have paid 2.4 million baht bribe, Amarin TV said.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Kampol Leelaprapaporn, Chonburi provincial police chief, led a 100-strong team in raiding the 300-room, four-star, seven-storey hotel in Nong Prue subdistrict, Bang Lamung district, where around a hundred Indian tourists were playing baccarat at the ground-floor conference hall.
There was chaos when police showed up with the Indian gamblers fleeing in different directions and some even tried to stop police from entering the hall.
Found at the conference hall were four baccarat tables, three poker tables, eight CCTV units, 15,612 chips worth 209,215,000 rupees, equivalent to 87,363,790 baht, 92 mobile phones, 16 decks of playing cars, two notebooks, a money counter and some hookahs.
Even more amazing was the seizure of 40 gamblers credit books with over 500 million rupees registered, equivalent to 200 million baht.
Moreover the gambling sessions were telecast live to India.
An Indian translator brought in by the police said this group of Indian tourists came to Thailand on April 27 and were scheduled to return to their home country today (May 1).
There were Thais who facilitated their trip to Thailand with the gamblers having to open a credit in exchange for chips with some having put in 14 million rupees, equivalent to about 6 million baht.
Ms. Sitranan Kaewlor, 32, admitted to having organised the gambling tour and had rented this hotel for 120,000 baht a day with the owners having nothing to do with operating it during the duration of the lease with the leasee charge of everything including the accommodation and food for the gamblers.
As for gaming tables, she revealed that they were brought to the hotel two days ago with all the gambling equipment having been shipped from India before the Covid-19 pandemic.
She added that two men, only identified as Mr. Phakhin and Mr. Ek, were paid 2.4 million baht as a bribe to ensure the police kept away from the premises. However just two days after operating the casino police mounted a raid.
Sitranan also said that she had worked with her Indian husband in arranging to bring this group of Indian tourists to Thailand. There were two parties, one who came here to gamble while others for a holiday.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Kampol said the raid was mounted after a spy sent word that gambling was taking place at this hotel.
The large number of Indians and Thais arrested were separated into two groups – gamblers and dealers – in preparation of filing charges.
Police are now investigating whether the hotel owner knew about gambling taking place there and an allegation of over 2 million baht in bribe being paid.
A large number of Indian gamblers were arrested in a raid on a Pattaya hotel soon after midnight last night, May 1, 2023. Top, first and second insert: Amarin TV, below and Front Page: Naewna