Hong Kong Police Raids Casino, Seizes Over £2 Million in Chips
December 29th, 2020 3.00pm
Following a raid at a local luxury casino, Hong Kong police announced that a total of sixteen individuals had been taken into custody.
The authorities also revealed they had seized more than £2.2 million in chips, £20,548 in cash and two hundred sets of playing cards. The gambling operation was closed after the raid.
Among those arrested at the apartment complex located in the city’s luxurious Tsim Sha Tsui retail district are eleven high rollers. The list of suspects includes a barrister and four directors from local financial service companies and three students studying in Honk Kong.
A Lucrative Casino Operation
According to the police, the gambling operation was run by an organised criminal group and was very lucrative.
One of the police officials revealed the operation’s turnover had been nearly £1 million daily, with the gang earning up to around £95,000 every night.
The casino began working in October this year, while players who wanted to enjoy gambling at the operation had to possess a sizeable banking account as wagering started at £9,500.
The alleged leader of this operation, the casino boss, was also arrested. Police believe he is linked to organised crime, specifically the triad operating in this Chinese special administrative region.
If found guilty, he could end up spending up to seven years behind bars and paying a fine of around £480,000.
Three women working as dealers were also arrested. The authorities suspect them of assisting the illegal operation and providing help in running an unlawful gambling ring. The dealers could receive a nine-month prison sentence if found guilty and forced to pay a fine worth up to £2,900.
Local media are expecting more arrests in the coming days. However, so far, none of the arrested individuals has been formally charged. According to police, the operation is still being investigated.
The illegal casino was located in a penthouse apartment overlooking Victoria Harbour. The soundproof duplex was in the building nicknamed The Masterpiece. According to media reports, the gaming floor was situated on the lower floor of the luxurious apartment. At this moment, there are no details about the casino’s offering, but it did include at least one baccarat table.
Serving High Rollers
The top floor of the apartment was a bar, where customers could get whisky and wine, as well as cigars.
Only regular players were allowed to enter this casino. Its working hours were usually from 8 pm to 1 am, although it opened its doors only three or four times a week. Renting such a luxurious apartment wasn’t cheap, with the monthly rent being around £12,500.
The Masterpiece has a total of 345 apartments, a shopping centre and a Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Earlier this year, another investigation revealed an illegal gambling operation doing business across the city. Serving players in eight gambling dens, the scheme managed to obtain £1.33 million. The authorities broke up the whole operation in a series of raids conducted during March.
In the end, 29 individuals were arrested, including three ringleaders. News reports added the investigation was still going on, and that new arrests would be made in the future.
The investigation also revealed that most players using the illicit gambling ring’s services were connected to the criminal underworld. A local newspaper claimed the list of customers included drug dealers and members of the Hong Kong triads.
It’s still unclear if the two operations are in any way linked.
And while gambling has been banned in mainland China since 1949, it’s perfectly legal in Hong Kong, although the local government restricts it only to a few regulated outlets.
The illegal casino was located in a luxurious apartment