Mon, Feb 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Police crack down on illegal gambling ahead of holiday

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Law enforcers cracked down on illegal gambling dens in several cities around the nation ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, arresting several dozen suspected gamblers over the past few days.

Police yesterday raided an alleged gambling operation hidden in an alleyway in Tainan’s Guanmiao District (關廟), apprehending 14 people allegedly playing tian jiu pai (天九牌) — a Chinese domino game that is popular in Taiwan, Hong Kong and southern China. They said they found betting money on the table at the scene.

“Gambling operators move between locations during the Lunar New Year holiday to make quick profits,” said Liang Jen-hui (梁仁輝), chief of police for Tainan’s Gueiren District (歸仁) and leader of the raid.

The suspects are to be processed at the prosecutors’ office on charges of illegal gambling in a public venue, a contravention of Article 266 of the Criminal Code, Liang said.

Meanwhile, Taipei police on Friday raided a mahjong betting operation on Hankou Street in the city’s Ximending (西門町) commercial district, they said, adding that they found 23 people engaged in gambling or hired to work at the gambling den.

Police said the suspected proprietor, a 65-year-old woman surnamed Chen (陳), had last year set up an association for “researching and studying mahjong.”

However, the association was just a front, they said, adding that Chen was operating an illegal gambling den and collecting a percentage of the money bet on the mahjong games.

Taipei police on Saturday raided an apartment on Sichang Street in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), detaining 12 people for questioning after finding mahjong sets and money allegedly used in betting.

Police questioned the alleged proprietor, a 63-year-old man surnamed Huang (黃), and reported finding about NT$100,000 at the site.

Huang was arrested for operating an illegal gambling den two months ago at the same location, the police said.

Police quoted Huang as saying that since he moved between several locations, he had not expected the police to raid his rented Sichang Street apartment again.

In another case, police in Taitung City reported a raid on Friday in which they rounded up 20 people for allegedly betting on tian jiu pai games.

Article 266 of the Criminal Code states: “A person who gambles in a public place or a place open to the public shall be sentenced to a fine ... unless the item for which he gambles is one to provide temporary amusement.”

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