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Sickly Filipina fined $2,000 for illegal gambling

15 May 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

Estrada and her co-accused pleaded guilty to illegal gambling in Kowloon Court

A Filipina who said she had a heart problem was fined $2,000 by a Kowloon City magistrate today, May 15, after pleading guilty to illegal gambling.

Joann Estrada, 52, appeared with Hong Kong males Chew Kwok-fung, 27, and Tam Ka-fai, 50, before Magistrate Amy Chan to answer a charge of “gambling in a gambling establishment.”

Estrada, Chew and Tam, who were not represented by lawyers, all pleaded guilty to the charge.
The first defendant, Hong Kong female Tse Kwok-wan, who allegedly managed the gambling establishment in a first-floor flat at 87 Woosung St., Yaumatei, did not appear in court.

According to the prosecution, Estrada and the three defendants were arrested during an anti-illegal gambling operation on Mar 25.

After a team of five officers rang the bell of the flat, Tse opened the door. Inside, the officers found Estrada, Chew and Tam sitting around a fish-hitting machine with game cards in front of them.

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The police said the three gambled on the video game machine using betting points that they bought beforehand, at $100 per 10,000 points. Tse used a card reader to issue points to the players’ game cards. Accumulated points won were later redeemed in cash. 

The prosecution said that $25,000 in cash was among the exhibits seized during the raid.

Tse who reportedly managed the den, also monitored the CCTV camera that was installed outside the flat. She was paid $800 per day and a 10% commission for point sales.
The prosecution said the establishment was owned by Catherine Hung and Wong Kwok-wun but that no case was brought against them.

When Estrada was asked by the magistrate if she had anything to say in mitigation, she said she was unemployed because she had a heart ailment. She added she was not in the raided flat to gamble.

“Then why did you plead guilty?” asked the magistrate.

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“I was there waiting for a friend who told me to wait there. I did not know that it was a gambling place,” she replied.

She said she pleaded guilty to the charge only because she was confused and sick.

Chan told her to sit at the gallery for awhile to think her plea over. But when the magistrate called her again, Estrada said she wanted to plead guilty and admitted she was at the establishment to gamble.

Chan ordered that half of Estrada’s $2,000 fine be offset by her bail.

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