• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 3:24am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 November, 2013, 3:54am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 November, 2013, 3:54am

Police should have better things to do

Police shut down 11 underground mahjong clubs in Shau Kei Wan this week and busted 129 people, many of them elderly.

Bravo, Hong Kong's finest! All I can say is, don't you have better things to do than deploying more than 60 officers to harass old people and housewives. Surely most just wanted to play a few games of low-stakes mahjong to fight boredom or to socialise with neighbours? We are not talking about gambling dens controlled by triad syndicates with millions of dollars' turnover. Even the police have admitted that. The parlours were smalltime operators, almost a neighbourhood service that charged HK$20 for 90 minutes of play to cover the overheads. Each game involved about HK$20 to HK$30. Most players were retirees from the neighbourhood. For such a well co-ordinated operation, officers netted a whopping HK$8,000! Wow, maybe the operators needed to commit money laundering for such a princely sum! The raid was launched after police received intelligence. Intelligence? The snitch had too much time on his hands.

But the police were just doing their job and enforcing the law, you say. Yeah, right! How many laws are on the statute books that are not enforced in Hong Kong? How about unlicensed home restaurants, for starters?

For small charge, the parlours offered tea, snacks and an air-conditioned place for the customers. Perhaps they should have gambled in each other's flats, and so no one would know. But most of them live in cramped flats, which are hardly welcoming to guests. Public recreational activities and facilities are woefully inadequate in low-income areas like Shau Kei Wan with an ageing population.

According to a neighbour, most visitors were old people. Many came in the early afternoon to chat with friends and socialise. Most went home early in the evening. Police said the parlours had been operating for a year. That may be the case. However, neighbours say such low-stakes games have been played publicly in the area for decades.

Now that the authorities have taken away one of the few sources of enjoyment and recreation for the elderly residents, they should have the decency to provide more services and facilities.


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John Adams
Don't forget that we have far more policemen per citizen than even New York city
That's supposedly why our crime rate per capita is so low.
Well - I guess all these extra policemen need to be kept busy.
Whatever happened to "turning a blind eye to trivial infractions of the law" ?
Yesterday while walking in HongKong Park I noticed that all the roads and laybays near the High Court building entrance were - as always - full of illegally parked and waiting cars, most of which were tycooon-movers with dual number-plates. All illegally parked next to a big blue police warning sign which says: "cars parked here illegally may be towed away".
A policeman on a motorbike drove round all the illegal cars.
The policeman looked at all the parked cars, obviously decided it was too much trouble to book them all, and drove off.
The cars stayed.
Very sad for the old mahjong players that the police could not be so lenient.
The Hong Kong police should release monthly statistics on the # of cars that they ticket for illegal parking. It would be such a good PR boost. Right now everyone criticizes them for ignoring illegally parked cars. The best method to improve their image would be to publish a monthly statistic that SCMP could chart. It would look really cool on a chart if each month the # increased.
hard times !
our police surely have more better things to do such as: carrying out raids at triad society dens, more diligently patrolling the streets to stop fights or crimes from taking place and combating other vice as well. Targetting the elderly for their so-called illegal gambling---playing mahjong is a waste of police manpower, to speak the truth !
These places are fronts for triads, who pray on the old people. I'm glad to see the police cracking down on them.
Even HKJC wouldnt worry about the drain of betting dollars to these parlours. What are you smokin' Andy?
Well, it is just because they don't dare to raid the real triad gambling premisses.
The old are soft targets to keep Commissioner Andy's statistics looking good. Not a good political move to go after the dual number plate tycoon mobiles, you never know when you'll get an earful from someone sitting next to you at a dinner.
Hong Kong police are becoming more and more thug like under this guy.
No...becoming more and more like mainland police.
I thought they already did this - its called a blank piece of paper!
To everyone's surprise the French beat the Chinese team in mahjong game (last year?). I am holding no hope Hong Kongers could lend a hand in the next round.
Change the gambling law or reduce the police force if more is there after catching triads especially in schools.


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