Enraged locals attack cops, foil casino raid
- Published: 8/04/2013 at 12:34 AM
- Online news:
A high-profile police raid on an illegal casino in Bang Sue district was foiled Sunday by residents who turned on the officers and pelted them with projectiles and scalding water.
More than 200 officers from Metropolitan Police Division 2 carried out the raid on the notorious Tao Poon casino.
The raid, which had been planned for about a week, targeted a housing compound on Khao San alley, off Techa Wanit Road.
The casino was raided previously in late 2011, and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) announced in February this year it had frozen ownership of the land on which the casino stands.
When police arrived at the compound Sunday, they found all entry points heavily fortified and were unable to gain access at ground level.
About 50 detectives were forced to climb onto the roofs of neighbouring homes carrying ladders, ropes and rubber sheets. They used the ladders to bridge the gaps between roofs.
As the officers approached the casino, they were attacked by residents who threw projectiles and shouted abuse at them. The detectives used rubber sheets to breach rusted barbed wire sprawled across the casino roof.
They then smashed through a vent and ceiling tiles and descended on ladders to the casino floor. They took just over 10 minutes to gain entry.
The officers discovered nine gambling tables, 200 chairs and about 200 packs of cards.
However, no arrests could be made due to delays in the arrival of the backup force, which included 150 heavily armed riot police.
As the backup force approached from the ground, they too were attacked with rocks and wooden sticks hurled by locals. Some sprayed extinguishing agents and threw scalding water at the officers.
The backup force took about an hour to reach the casino, allowing the gamblers and casino managers plenty of time to flee with their cash and other evidence.
Three officers were injured in the botched operation. A police major and a captain fell from roofs, while a senior sergeant major sustained a laceration to his head after being hit by a tile.
Pol Maj Gen Suthee Nenkanthee, commander of the Metropolitan Police Division 2, said the first group of officers who entered the casino from the roof saw about 30 gamblers at the tables, but they lacked the manpower to apprehend them because the backup force was blocked.
Seehanat Prayoonrat, secretary-general of Amlo, said the property had been frozen pending a court order for its confiscation, but the owner of the property still has the right to use it.
The building is estimated to be worth more than 10 million baht and the confiscation process is likely to take several years.
A source said police knew the casino had reopened because they had noted more than 100 vehicles visiting the building each day.
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