Police have arrested 79 people in raids on a pub and an alleged illegal gambling den.
Hong Kong.- Police officers have arrested 79 people after raids on two alleged illegal casinos.
In the first raid, in Sai Ying Pun, officers found people playing around a baccarat table and playing online card games via two large televisions.
According to South China Morning Post, 16 men and 6 women aged 31 to 74 were arrested. Police seized HK$215,000 (US$27,697) in cash, HK$410,000 in chips and five account books.
In the second raid, police found 21 people suspected of playing baccarat at a flat located in Kwun Tong. Officers seized HK$70,000 in cash and gambling paraphernalia.
Those arrested were also breaking social distancing rules implemented as part of Covid-19 countermeasures, officers said.
Hong Kong penalises gambling at an illegal den with nine months in jail and a HK$30,000 fine. Operators can face a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and a HK$5m fine.
Gambling in Hong Kong is restricted to a few authorised venues. Horse races, football matches, and lotteries are controlled by The Hong Kong Jockey Club.
As a result, many residents travel to Macau to gamble there, making Hong Kong one of the key outbound markets for Macau’s gaming industry. It provides 10 to 15 per cent of Macau’s annual casino gross gaming revenue (GGR).