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Illegal gaming outlets on the rise
Free Malaysia Today - 15 Dec 2011

Several residents from Seremban Jaya claim that the police seem to be powerless to act against the gaming operators.

Several residents from the Seremban Jaya township have complained about the rising number of illegal gaming outlets in residential areas there which are causing social problems.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a 30-year old businessman said several of these outlets have been operating for the past three years but only started mushrooming rapidly over the last one year.

“And there are also illegal massage parlours offering sexual services to its patrons,” he added.

Claiming that the outlets are being run by syndicates, the businessman said the vice dens have gangsters guarding their premises round-the-clock.

“The doors to the outlets are kept locked. Once you ring the bell, they will check you out using their CCTV first before allowing entry,” he explained.

On the gaming outlets, the businessman said most of them offered computer-based games such as poker, jackpot and roulette.

Asked if he had reported the matter to the police, the businessman said he is afraid to do so as it involved an highly-organised syndicate which seemed to know the way around the legal system.

Elaborating, he said although the police conduct regular raids on the outlets, the illegal operators seem to have no problem restarting their businesses.

“Many times I have seen them start their operation the very next day after being raided. Sometimes, they continue operating while the raid is going on by allowing customers to enter the premises through the back door. So how am I to lodge a report against them knowing even the police are unable to stop them?” he said.

However, he said the gaming operators never disturbed the residents but the same could not be said about the patrons.

“At times, the patrons get drunk and behave unruly in the restaurants nearby,” he added.

‘Police cahoots with them’

A 35-year old security guard, who also declined to be named, said the illegal gaming dens should be abolished.

He said that those who come from poor families become addicted and waste their wages on the games, leaving their families in a lurch.

“They gamble away their salaries, rendering them unable to pay their instalments and other bills which cause difficulties to their families,” he added.

He also said that he once saw the gangsters manning the illegal outlets stopping a car as the driver owed them money after suffering losses due to gambling.

“They took him inside one of the outlets and I don’t know what happened next. Probably, they came to some sort of a settlement,” he said.

Whether he has approached the authorities, the security guard blunty said the police are ineffective in resolving the matter.

“Sometimes they arrest the outlet operators but they are released the very next day. I cannot help but think that the police are in cahoots with this syndicate,” he added.

‘Money for elections?’

Commenting on the matter, Negeri Sembilan Kita chairman R Sri Sanjeevan said there are about 20 to 25 of these illegal gambling outlets operating in Seremban Jaya alone.

“And in Seremban town, there is one stretch of shoplots that houses this illegal business. Don’t tell me the police are not aware of this?” he asked.

He said residents are afraid to lodge a complaint with the police as it seems that the syndicate has links with the police.

“Whenever there is a police raid, the outlet operators seem to know about it and close down momentarily,” he added.

Criticising the police, Sanjeevan called on the Home Ministry and the police to buck up and arrest those involved in the racket before it causes more problems.

The Kita leader said that he has reported the matter to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein but no action has been taken.

“Why are they closing their eyes over this? Probably, they are waiting for the money generated from the gambling racket to be used for the upcoming general election,” he alleged.

Despite numerous attempts, FMT failed to reach Seremban district police chief Saiful Azly Kamaruddin for comments.

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