Pattaya police arrested 80 Indian nationals – including a famed high-stake gambler under criminal investigation and a bank chairman – after they raided an illegal gambling party.
Officers stormed the Asia Pattaya Hotel around 12:15 a.m. Monday, arresting 93 people, including 80 Indians after police received information that a group of Indian nationals had booked rooms and a meeting center since April 27 in order play baccarat and blackjack.
Upon seeing the police, the gamblers attempted to flee, but were apprehended. Also arrested were six Thai nationals and four Burmese. The remaining individuals reportedly were game organizers and staff.
Among those arrested were Chikoti “PC” Praveen Kumar, who has seen his Telangana properties raided and seized over the past year for his alleged organization of high-stakes gambling trips for Indian celebrities and millionaires in Thailand, Nepal and Indonesia. He currently is the prime suspect in an investigation by India’s Enforcement Directorate. Also arrested was one of his aides who is also under ED investigation and a bank chairman.
During the raid, police seized a significant amount of gambling equipment, including four baccarat tables, three blackjack tables, 25 sets of cards, 209,215,000 chips, and three card-dealer machines.
In addition, police found 160,000 Indian rupees, eight closed-circuit television cameras, 92 mobile phones, three notebook computers, one iPad, and a logbook in which gambling credits were recorded. The logbook indicated that approximately 1 billion rupees worth of credits were in circulation. Police also found four spots for serving baraku, an illegal tobacco.
Sitranan Kaewlor, 32, who claimed to be in charge of the accommodation and gambling venue, told police that the Indian tourists were charged 50,000 baht each, and that the room for gambling was rented for 120,000 baht. She said a Thai man was hired to supply food and also cleaning services. Gambling equipment including the card dealers came from India.
The gambling room was reportedly open from 1 p.m. to 6 a.m., and hotel staff were not allowed to enter.
Charges against the individuals arrested have not yet been announced.