The Pattaya bridge club saga rolls on. Although the members’ passports have been returned by the police and the bail money by the lawyer, a decision on what to do is still awaited from the public prosecutor. According to the report in Pattaya Mail (19 February), the gambling accusations have now bitten the dust. Still, it is worth remembering that gambling headed the original charge sheet when we were all detained for 12 hours earlier this month.
The Banglamung licensing authorities consider that we were playing bridge “without permission” and that we were operating “stealthily”. One can only say that Pattaya bridge club has been operating on a licence issued by the Contract Bridge League of Thailand for 22 years prior to the raid. As regards stealth, we have hardly been secretive: for example, Pattaya Mail ran a weekly bridge column for many years and we now run our own website.
As regards the claim that we were using too many packs of cards, a licensed bridge club (as opposed to four players sitting at home) needs dozens of packs in use at the same time. It cannot operate any other way so why aren’t all bridge clubs in Thailand being prosecuted? Incidentally, the club does not sell alcohol but members can purchase a drink from the restaurant where we are based three afternoons a week. I would have thought that any possible breach of booze regulations was a matter for the restaurant management and the licensing authorities.
Finally, every bridge club in the world hosts a competition every time it meets. Whoever heard of a football match or a darts league that wasn’t competitive?