Hong Kong: 81 arrested in raids on gambling dens

Police seized 31 arcade machines.
Police seized 31 arcade machines.

Police have closed down 14 triad-linked gambling dens in Wan Chai and the Eastern District.

Hong Kong.- Police have arrested 51 men and 30 women aged between 21 and 77 in raids on 14 illegal gambling dens.

Authorities said operators were found to be offering customers low quality crystal meth at the venues, which could only be entered with the endorsement of another frequent customer.

They say the dens housed a range of gambling machines and used electronic payment systems such as the Faster Payment System and Alipay to transfer money in a bid to make it more difficult for police to seize income.

One is believed to have been in operation for at least six months in a rented aperment.

During the raids, police seized 31 arcade machines, account books, HK$41,000 (US$5,300) in cash and HK$40,000 worth of illegal drugs, along with drug paraphernalia and weapons.

To identify the lead figures in the syndicates, undercover officers posed as gamblers. Once those in charge were identified, more than 100 officers were deployed in raids on the 14 venues.

Authorities said that the gang had recruited 18 members of ethnic minority communities to operate the centres while avoiding detection and arrest.

Chief Inspector Tse Tsz-kwan from Hong Kong Island’s Regional Anti Triad Unit said the operation was ongoing and that further arrests were possible.

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