In a coordinated effort, police raided a room at the Asia Pattaya Hotel in Bang Lamung district, Chon Buri, in the early hours of Monday, apprehending 80 Indian nationals caught in the midst of a high-stakes gambling game. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong)
The small coastal town of Pattaya in Thailand’s Chon Buri province was abuzz with excitement in the dark hours of Monday morning when a team of law enforcement officers, led by Chon Buri police chief Pol Maj Gen Kampol Leelaprapaporn, descended upon the luxurious Asia Pattaya Hotel in Soi Phra Tamnak 4, tambon Nong Prue, Bang Lamung district. Tipped off by undercover police, the officers had received reliable intelligence that a group of Indian nationals had booked rooms at the hotel from April 27 to May 1, and had rented the Sampao meeting room specifically for gaming purposes.
Upon entering the hotel, the police officers found a large gathering of eager gamblers engrossed in intense games of baccarat and blackjack in the Sampao room. As the realization dawned on them that they were being interrupted by the police, the players made a desperate attempt to flee the scene. However, their efforts were thwarted as 93 individuals—comprising 83 Indians, six Thais, and four Myanmar nationals—were swiftly apprehended by the skilled officers.
Among the individuals arrested, 80 were identified as Indian gamblers while the remaining 13 were a mix of game organizers and assisting staff. The authorities seized a variety of valuable loot during the operation, including four baccarat tables, three blackjack tables, 25 sets of playing cards, 209,215,000 gaming chips, 160,000 Indian rupees in cash, eight closed-circuit television cameras, 92 mobile phones, three notebook computers, one iPad, and three card dealer machines. A logbook containing records of gambling credits, which amounted to nearly 1,000 million rupees worth of circulating credit, was also found at the scene.
Upon questioning 32-year-old Sitranan Kaewlor, who claimed to be overseeing the lodging and gambling venue, the police learned that each of the Indian nationals was charged 50,000 baht (approx. $1,531) for admission to the illicit event. The specially-designated gambling room was rented out for a sum of 120,000 baht (approx. $3,679), and was open for business daily from 1 pm until 6 am. In a further intriguing detail, Kaewlor informed the officers that hotel staff were strictly forbidden from setting foot inside the gaming room.
Sitranan revealed that a certain Thai individual named Pakin was tasked with providing food and cleaning services for the event. Shockingly, she also disclosed that all gambling equipment, including the card dealers, had been imported directly from India for the occasion.
The 93 detainees, which included the 80 Indian gamblers, were subsequently handed over to police investigators in Pattaya to face legal proceedings on charges of illegal gambling and other related offenses. As this high-profile case unfolds, police will continue to crack down on similar activities in and around the city.