Trio tried for running poker house

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 November, 2010, 12:00am

Three businessmen accused of running a poker house in Central stood trial in Eastern Court yesterday for managing a gambling establishment.

Elton Tsang Ka-wai, 30, Jonathan Shen, 31, and Sebastian Chau Yeen, 28, pleaded not guilty to managing the Blue Room in Stanley Street, Central, between November 1 last year and March 13 this year, when the police raided the premises as part of an anti-gambling operation.

Gambling chips with a face value of more than HK$81,000 as well as HK$18,000 in cash were seized.

Curt Lam Yau-fung, 41, who said he was the chief financial officer of a major corporation, was originally charged with gambling but was granted immunity from prosecution to become a witness, the court heard.

The executive director and financial controller of listed company Yuexiu Property has the same name in Chinese and English.

Lam told the court he first visited the Blue Room on December 13 last year to play no-limit Texas hold'em poker.

He went there about once a week until the raid.

Each visitor paid HK$250 on arrival and received drinks coupons, he said. During his first visit, he bought HK$2,000 worth of gambling chips to play at one of the five poker tables.

Senior public prosecutor Anna Lai Yuen-kee said Chau gave Lam a business card identifying himself as a director of the Blue Room.

Earlier yesterday, Anjana Rai, 26, pleaded guilty to managing the establishment and was jailed for three months, suspended for two years. Magistrate Gary Lam Kar-yan also fined her HK$2,000.

Two others, Man Rupa Gurung, 24, and Li Sen-hung, 22, pleaded guilty to assisting in managing a gambling establishment.

They were fined HK$1,000 and jailed for two months, suspended for two years.

The trial continues today.