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83 Indian tourists land in jail over gambling charges in Pattaya

ANN/THE NATION THAILAND – Chonburi police arrested 83 Indian tourists early yesterday for allegedly playing card games for money in a convention hall of a Pattaya hotel.

Asia Hotel in Chonburi’s Bang Lamung district was raided just after midnight and also led to the arrest of four Thai men, two Thai women and four Myanmar women who allegedly served as card dealers. Chonburi police chief Pol Maj-General Kampol Leelapraphaporn said police had received a tip-off that many Indian tourists had checked into the hotel on Saturday and were scheduled to check out yesterday.

Police were also told about the convention hall being turned into a makeshift casino.

When police arrived, they found the 83 Indian nationals, 71 of them men, playing Baccarat and Black Jack. The suspects tried to flee but were captured, Kampol said.

Inside the hall, police found four Baccarat and three Black Jack tables along with 25 sets of cards, INR160,000 in cash, 92 mobile phones, three notebook computers, three card dispensers and chips to be exchanged for cash later.

Kampol said police believe that about INR1 billion was circulated in the makeshift casino.

One of the Thai women was identified as Sitranan Kaewlor, 32, who reportedly confessed to organising gambling trips for Indian tourists. She said they were charged THB50,000 each, which covered airfare, food, airport-hotel transfers as well as hotel rooms.

She said she had instructed the hotel to keep the convention hall off-limits for its staff.

She added the card dealers, cards and gambling tools came from India.

All 93 are at Pattaya Police Station to face charges.

Policemen examine gambling tables at the convention hall. PHOTO: THE NATION THAILAND
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