Officers go to great heights to raid gamblers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 June, 2006, 12:00am

Police climbed 21 floors to avoid detection by security cameras before arresting 29 people in a gambling den in Kwun Tong yesterday, including the flat's owner.

The operators were believed to be two women, aged 46 and 38.

The older woman said she bought the public housing flat at Tsui Lau House, Tsui Ping North Estate, from the Housing Department.

The operators used the building's security cameras, accessible by CCTV to every tenant, to monitor the main entrance, lifts and hallways.

Kwun Tong Senior Inspector Wong Hau-suen said the den had been operating for about a week and was controlled by a Sun Yee On triad gang. All the doors and windows were closed and they were sealed with towels to absorb noise.

To avoid being spotted, plain-clothes officers had to enter the building in pairs about three hours before the raid, Inspector Wong said. 'They also had to climb 21 floors instead of taking the lifts.' Acting on a tip-off, Kwun Tong special duty officers led by Chief Inspector Tong Pak-sum raided the flat at 2am. Ten men and 19 women, aged between 28 and 69, were found playing baccarat.

Officers seized more than $290,000 in betting chips and more than $6,000 in cash on a gaming table in the middle of the living room.

'Preliminary investigations showed it was a mobile gambling den that moved around the city to evade police detection. It moved into Kwun Tong about a week ago,' Inspector Wong said.

'It started business about 6pm and closed at dawn every morning. They only served regular customers including housewives and blue-collar workers.'

All those arrested were detained for questioning at Kwun Tong police station last night.