A Keelung homeowner was recently shocked to discover his house had been converted into a gambling den by a casino agent posing as a potential buyer.
The man, surnamed Tsai (蔡), had commissioned a realtor to sell the vacant house, valued at about NT$5 million (US$169,000), which used to serve as a staff dormitory.
On Wednesday last week, the real estate-agent showed the building, along with two other residences, to a man who said he wanted to look at some houses. The next day the purported buyer said he wanted to look at Tsai’s property again, since it was located in a convenient area. The realtor was not in his office that day, so the man asked the realtor’s colleagues for the keys to the property.
Soon after, the purported buyer, accompanied by a group of people, went to Tsai’s house and began installing poker tables.
Tsai was not aware that his house was being turned into an illegal gambling den until he watched footage from a surveillance camera installed outside the house and became suspicious about the activity.
When he went to check on his property he was surprised to find it packed with gambling tables and notified the police immediately.
Police said that some illegal gamblers familiar with how the real-estate market works and realtors’ schedules have been using for-sale properties to set up temporary gambling dens.
However, the property owners could find themselves in legal trouble as accomplices to illegal gambling if they fail to report such activity in time, police said.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, staff writer