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Pattaya officials accused of accepting bribes to dodge raid

Indian arrested over gambling in Pattaya

An investigation has been launched into claims that government officials in Pattaya accepted 2 million baht in bribes in return for allowing an illegal gambling den to operate. The pop-up casino was uncovered during a raid at the Asia Pattaya Hotel in the early hours of Monday morning, in which 93 foreign and Thai nationals arrested.

If the organiser did pay 2 million to avoid arrest, it was not money well spent.

According to a Nation Thailand report, most of those arrested during the raid in the Bang Lamung district of Chon Buri are Indian nationals. Officers also confiscated gambling tables and chips, playing cards, smartphones, and CCTV cameras. At the time of the raid, the suspects were found to be playing cards and other games in a room at the hotel.

In total, police arrested 83 Indian nationals, 4 Burmese nationals, and 6 Thais.

According to the report, a 32 year old Thai suspect named as Sitranan Kaewlor told police the Indian tourists paid 50,000 baht each, which covered the cost of flights, accommodation, food, and transportation. The hotel room was rented out for the tourists to use as a gambling den, at an additional cost of 120,000 baht.

It’s understood the Thai suspects have confessed that local government officials were paid 2 million baht to turn a blind eye to the illegal casino. Pattaya Police say they are investigating the claim, with police chief Thanapong Phothi saying any officials found guilty of accepting bribes will face the full force of the law.

For now, the authorities say the suspects have been split into 2 groups: the Indian gamblers and those operating the illegal gambling den. The Indian tourists will remain in custody while the investigation continues and police are preparing to submit a case against all suspects to the Pattaya Provincial Court.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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