Responsive Ad Slot

Latest

Buhay Pinay

Features

People

Sports

Philippine News

Join us at Facebook!

Police warn Filipinos anew vs illegal gambling

16 March 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao


This walkway on one side of City Hall, opposite the stop for bus 13, is known as a hotspot for gamblers in Central

While Hong Kong’s streets are empty most days because of the spread of the coronavirus, a few members of the 240,000-strong Filipino community in Hong Kong continue to take advantage of their Sunday day-off by gathering for illegal gambling.

Despite the Hong Kong Police Force stating it “has spared no effort in combating illegal gambling activities and has been monitoring such illegal activities for enforcement,” the activity continues.


Near a bus stop outside City Hall, at least three groups of Filipino workers on any given Sunday openly place bets, sometimes as much as $500 each, in card games on plastic or cardboard mats on the sidewalk.

This is replicated on other sidewalks, footbridges, under bridges and in almost any nook in Central where Filipino migrant workers gather. Unknown to them, the police are watching and have recently called the Consulate’s attention to the illegal pastime.


On Mar 4, the Consulate issued a reminder on its Facebook page about Hong Kong laws against illegal gambling and the stiff penalties for offenders.

Police statistics on arrests involving non-ethnic Chinese illegal gamblers in Central indicate, however, that the law enforcers have been lax.

Pindutin pra sa detalye!

In the past five years, only 11 non-ethnic Chinese had been arrested for violating the Anti-Gambling Ordinance in Central. There were four arrests in 2015, none in 2016 and 2017, three in 2018 and four last year, police statistics show.

The police could not say if those arrested were Filipinos.

It’s not that police are not doing their jobs. Last year, officers made two raids on a building in North Point where illegal gambling was carried out and arrested 20 people.

Call us now!

Six Filipinos -- five males and one female – were arrested on May 23 last year for illegal gambling in a flat on Bank Tower at 351 King’s Road. They pleaded guilty in Eastern Court three weeks later and were fined $800 each.
Police raided two units in this North Point building twice last year to flush out illegal gamblers
It was also on Bank Tower where seven Filipinos, including three women, and five local men, a Thai woman and a mainland man were arrested on Dec 7, 2018 for illegal gambling. They pleaded guilty in court on Mar 12, 2019 and were fined $500 each.

The Filipinos arrested in North Point, however, were mostly residents or asylum seekers caught playing in an illegal casino and game arcade on Bank Tower. They were not domestic workers like those gamble in Central.
“Taking into account local situations, Central Police District correspondingly adopts strategies and takes enforcement actions to prevent and combat illegal gambling,” the Police Public Relations Branch said in a statement.

The PPRB said police also step up public education and cooperate with other departments and stakeholders when necessary to combat related crimes.

“Assistance (was) also sought from relevant stakeholders in reminding their members of the legal consequence of participating in illegal gambling activities in Hong Kong,” the PPRB said, alluding to the representation with the Consulate.

The gambling hotspots in Central include a shaded walkway next to the stop for bus no 13 just outside City Hall, the sidewalks around the General Post Office, the footbridge in front of Exchange Square, the Queen's Road side of HSBC, the Admiralty footbridge leading to Tamar, and another linking Queensway Plaza to Chater Garden.
 
This path beside the General Post Office is where illegal bettors on online horse racing often congregate
One can tell where the stakes are big: the players who sit on a mat are fenced off by friends and other kibitzers who serve as lookouts. From a distance, one could discern at least one South Asian national joining each circle of Filipinos; some say they’re the financiers of the illegal card games.

The lookouts are the ones who alert the gamblers when an officer is about to approach their group, or accost people who take photos of the illegal activity.

One can tell where the stakes are big: the players who sit on a mat are fenced off by friends and other kibitzers who serve as lookouts. From a distance, one could discern at least one South Asian national joining each circle of Filipinos; some say they’re the financiers of the illegal card games.


Three years ago, the Central Police District, in cooperation with the Consulate, launched a training program for the community to help police their ranks and prevent crime.

Out of the 207 OFWs who initially participated in the program, only 21 graduated last January and were appointed as police crime ambassadors.

As the officers are occupied with more serious criminal activities as well as anti-protest duties, the volunteers keep an eye on OFWs who gather in Central and in parks, help protect them from falling prey to criminals and to educate them on Hong Kong laws.

As they mix with the community, the fight crime ambassadors can be effective eyes against illegal gamblers and their financiers, and help the police stamp out the problem.   

The only problem is, they are mostly available to act as lookouts only on Sundays, and do not have the authority or the resources to confront well-entrenched gamblers and their protectors. The police are ultimately still the only ones who can put an end to this longstanding problem.


---
I-try mo ito, Kabayan: Kung interesado kang ma-contact ang mga advertiser namin dito, pindutin lang ang kanilang ad, at lalabas ang auto-dialer o kanilang website. Pindutin ulit and auto diaoer upang tumawag. Hindi na kailangang pindutin isa-isa ang mga numero.
Don't Miss