TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Eleven people were arrested on Sunday (Feb. 26) after police discovered a Thai restaurant in New Taipei City had been converted into an illegal gambling house.
The Shulin Precinct of the New Taipei City Police Department on Tuesday (Feb. 28) announced that as part of a new project to identify criminal activity in the district, three police stations have sent officers into the community to interact with residents and obtain information. They recently received a tip from a resident of suspicious activity at a Thai restaurant on Bao'an Street.
The eatery reportedly served meals during the day, but at night the tables and chairs were removed and the roll-up doors closed. Thai migrant workers and Taiwanese were said to be gambling on a Thai dice game called Hi Lo.
After several days of surveillance, police obtained a search warrant, and at 10:55 p.m. on Sunday, they raided the restaurant, reported UDN. Inside, they arrested 11 people, including nine Thai migrant workers and two Thai women with Taiwanese citizenship.
Police arrest participants for illegal gambling. (New Taipei City Police Department photo)
At the scene, officers seized more than NT$120,000 (US$3,900) in gambling funds, including NT$84,700 in bets and NT$$35,900 in the house's winnings. They also found that one Thai couple had overstayed their visa.
Police found the operators of the gambling den were a 77-year-old woman surnamed Chiu (邱) and a 63-year-old woman surnamed Lo (羅), both of whom acquired Taiwanese citizenship nearly 30 years ago. Lo was also found to have been operating another illegal Hi Lo gambling parlor on the second floor of an apartment building on Shulin's Longxing Street in October.
Cash seized at the scene. (New Taipei City Police Department photo)
In October, 20 gamblers were arrested and NT$570,000 in gambling funds were seized. Lo was handed over to a court and sentenced to a fine.
In November, Lo approached Chiu, who comes from her hometown in Thailand, to use her shrimp restaurant to start a new Hi Lo gambling venue. Private Hi Lo gambling dens are also illegal in Thailand and similar raids have also been reported in Thai media.
Board used to play Hi Lo dice game. (New Taipei City Police Department photo)
After undergoing police questioning, Chiu and Lo were transferred to the New Taipei City District Prosecutor's Office to be investigated for gambling. The nine Thai workers face up to NT$9,000 each in fines for breaching the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法) and two have been handed over to the National Immigration Agency for violating the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法) by overstaying their visas.
Handmade dice cup (left) and porcelain plate used to play Hi Lo dice game. (New Taipei City Police Department photo)