A Hong Kong police officer was one of 48 defendants brought before a local court Monday on illegal gambling charges. Authorities allege he co-operated the illegal gambling joint and provided poker games.
Ng Hin Fung, 29, is charged with two counts: operating a gambling establishment and knowingly allowing a prohibited public gathering to take place. The second charge relates to health safeguards during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If convicted on the gambling charge, he could face a two-year prison term and be forced to pay a HK$5 million (US$641,613) fine.
If convicted on the public gathering charge, he faces six months imprisonment and a HK$25,000 (US $3,208) fine.
The police officer’s case was continued to Oct. 11 in Kowloon City Court. He was released after posting HK$10,000 (US$1,283) bail.
Two other defendants also face charges for allegedly operating the gambling space. They are: Kong Wing Sum, 29, and Wong Chun Long, 24, according to the South China Morning Post.
Officer Suspended from Job
The officer has been suspended from his constable’s job, the Morning Post said. He worked at the Cheung Sha Wan Police Station.
In total, 36 men and 12 women were charged following an April 10 raid of a 1,600 square-foot space in the Selwyn Factory Building in the heavily-populated Kwun Tong neighborhood, the Morning Post said.
Poker games took place in the commercial space between March 27 and April 8, police allege. Ng provided Texas hold ‘em poker games.
Four poker tables were discovered inside the gambling operation during the raid. Police seized about HK$600,000 (US$77,182) in cash and gambling chips. Also found were 20 decks of cards and assorted gambling paraphernalia.
Among those charged was the gambling den’s likely manager and four possible dealers. They are facing an assisting in managing a gambling establishment charge. Many of the other suspects were players at the gambling den.
They ranged in age between 18 and 54. Most are in their 20s. Among them are students, a fashion designer, white-collar workers, as well as some people who are unemployed, the Morning Post said.
Several defendants already entered guilty pleas in the cases against them. Principal Magistrate Ada Yim Shun Yee fined each of 21 defendants HK$1,000 (US$128). Sentences were delayed on some other suspects.
Prior Gambling Raids
Also in April, Hong Kong police apprehended 29 suspects in a second gambling raid.
Earlier, in December, a police raid of a suspected luxury casino led to 16 arrests. Authorities also seized approximately HK$24 million (US$3 million) worth of chips, HK$215,000 (US $27,711) in currency, and 200 sets of playing cards from the operation.
Those apprehended included 11 suspects described as high rollers. They were arrested at a luxury apartment complex in the Tsim Sha Tsui retail district, the Morning Post said.
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