Thai authorities apprehended over 80 Indian tourists earlier this week during a crackdown on an illegal casino in the conference hall of a high-end hotel in Pattaya on Monday.
According to a report by NationTV, the crackdown was initiated by the police after receiving a tip from a local that a group of Indian tourists had come to a makeshift casino room in Asia Hotel Pattaya to gamble. The authorities then gathered evidence and set forth a plan to raid the gambling den.
When the gamblers noticed police officers approaching, they attempted to flee but found the hotel surrounded by law enforcement officials. The authorities arrested a total of 93 individuals – 83 Indians, four Burmese, and six Thais.
During the investigation, the authorities seized seven gambling tables, four Baccarat tables, three Blackjack tables, 25 decks of cards, 209,215,000 cash chips, INR 160,000 (USD 1,958), eight CCTV cameras, 92 mobile phones, three laptops, one iPad, three card shuffling devices.
A 32-year-old Thai woman named Sitranan Keolor confessed to running the gambling business at the rented facility, charging Indian gamblers THB 50,000 each for their lodging, food, flights, and transport.
Sitranan said the casino was open from noon until dawn and that she strictly forbade hotel staff from entering the room. She coordinated with another person to handle cleaning and cooking. The gambling equipment and the cards were brought from India.
In addition to the gamblers, the authorities held 93 hotel employees in custody and obtained CCTV footage as proof of the gambling activity. The police plan to charge the hotel and those involved with the Thai Gambling Act, which could lead to two years of prison time, a fine of up to 20,000 baht, or both.
Police are also investigating allegations that government officials took bribes to allow the casino to remain open and that the club employed undocumented migrant workers.
Thailand has strict anti-gambling laws, and any form of unauthorized gambling is illegal. However, illegal gambling dens often operate in the country, particularly in tourist areas.