A LONE high-stake gambler has cleaned out the bank on one of Hongkong's casino ships, which has since been sold and is trying to leave the territory. The local man made millions playing baccarat and pai kau (Chinese dominos) on one of the Queen of Jin Jiang's nightly voyages-to-nowhere into international waters. The Queen of Jin Jiang boasted gaming rooms with minimum bets of US$10,000, (about HK$77,600), attracting police concern over the growing number of high-rollers on the seas. Officers stumbled on the man's success while researching a background briefing for government officials monitoring the impact of the burgeoning casino ship trade. The 14,812-tonne Queen of Jin Jiang, along with the New Orient Princess and the New Delfin Star, has flouted government policy and Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun by sailing into international waters to gamble. A government source said the ship had just been sold by its Liberian registered owners, Golden Chance, to a Japanese concern and would run a ferry service between Shanghai and Japan. Golden Chance had chartered the ship to an unknown third party six months ago after buying it from the state-owned Shanghai Jijiang Shipping Corporation for US$6.6 million. Police sources said they had not yet penetrated the complex ownership behind the ship and thought its casino might have been run separately. Detectives have not linked the gambler's success with the ship's sudden sale. The ship sailed from Hongkong for Shanghai on Friday, but was forced to return by Typhoon Koryn. Security Branch and City and New Territories Administration officials have been warned not to ignore allegations of loan-sharking and prostitution rackets surrounding the other two ships. The Sun Yee On triad is believed to be heavily involved, providing protection for vice figures. ''These ships are now attracting some big local players, where you get this intense gambling activity, the rest will follow,'' one detective said. The Security Branch ordered the briefing to aid government preparations to drive the ships from the territory. An estimated 600 local gamblers board the ships at weekends, with touts now cruising Macau casinos for business. After three years of government promises of new legislation to stop the ships, finishing touches are being made to a stiff licensing system for sea-borne casinos under the Gambling Ordinance, which prevents private gambling for profit. The full details are being kept under wraps for fear of alerting lawyers of casino ship owners to possible loopholes in the law. However, Duncan Pescod, principal assistant secretary for the City and New Territories Administration, said the department had no plans for the immediate introduction of amendments. ''It's a matter of priorities and the number of people using the ships is still not that great,'' Mr Pescod said. ''Such undesirable and illegal activities do lead to implications for our control of the port, however, so we want to be ready to move at any time if we need to act.'' The size of the industry is still big enough to concern Mr Ho, whose company Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoe de Macau (STDM) holds the monopoly franchise on the enclave's gaming rooms. Mr Ho, who operated his own ships in Hongkong just two years ago, has renewed pressure on the Macau treasury - for whom STDM generates large sums of money - to push Hongkong to act.