Police arrested 49 people, including 26 Chinese nationals, and seized about 3.5 million baht in cash at an illegal casino operating on two floors at a hotel in Nonthaburi province early Wednesday morning.
The lavishly decorated casino operated on the eighth and ninth floors of the IWish hotel, in Ngam Wong Wan area. The two floors were leased, with access only by keycard.
The premises were raided by immigration police, assisted by local police.
The initial announcement said that 26 Chinese gamblers were held, along with 23 Thai workers. Police seized six baccarat tables, six slot machines, about 100 packs of cards, about 3.5 million baht in cash and casino chips with denominated values totalling tens of millions of baht.
The suspects and seized goods were taken to Rattanathibet police station in Muang district for legal proceedings.
Pol Col Thanamet Wichitchariya, chief of Rattanathibet station, said later that local police inspected the hotel last month and had not found a casino there. Immigration police had also asked officers from his station to assist during the raid.
The casino was big, he said. A Thai operator leased the two floors from the hotel and key cards were needed to gain access.
According to the station chief, there were 49 detainees and they also included Canadian, Lao, Myanmar and Singaporean nationals. Some foreigners were casino staff. Twenty-six arrested people denied all charges as they were in its food court.
National police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol said that he ordered his deputy Pol Gen Kitrat Phanphet to investigate the case thoroughly and find the real owner of the casino.
His deputy would look into the rumour that foreigners ran the casino, and police would take legal action against any officials who illegally supported the illicit business, Pol Gen Torsak said. Senior police officers in the locality of the casino had not been transferred pending the investigation, the national police chief said.