The Army, Pattaya Police and District Officials, conducted a raid on a 2nd floor rented apartment in South Pattaya on Monday Night which was being used by a Bridge Club for foreign nationals.
Officers received a tip-off from an informant of a regular gathering of foreign nationals in a rented room above the Alto’s Restaurant & Bar in Soi 2 off the Thappraya Road in South Pattaya. The Jomtien & Pattaya Bridge Club meet 3 times a week and is a popular pastime for foreign nationals, mostly British, who live in Pattaya.
Over 50 officers stormed the premises and found 8 tables and 32 foreign nationals, consisting of 26 men and 6 women who were playing the popular card game “Bridge”.
No money was changing hands, however the officers scoured the law books and found an offense was being committed and therefore the alleged organizer of the event, Mr. Jeremy Watson aged 74 from UK was detained for further questioning.
The offense relates to Section 8 of the Playing Cards Act of 1935 which states that an individual is not allowed to possess more than 120 playing cards at any one time. At the Bridge event, considerably more than 120 playing cards were found by officers.
Computers, Decks of Cards and a book with results of the Bridge games were seized by officers as evidence.
The raid will concern other Bridge club organizers in Pattaya who assumed their gatherings were not breaking any of Thailand’s Anti-Gambling Laws.
UPDATE – 4 February 2016 – 10.00am
One of the card players contacted Pattaya One to update the story.
He revealed that ALL of the card players were arrested and eventually released from Pattaya Police Station at 03.00am after almost 12 hours in custody and paying 5,000 Baht Bail each. They will all appear in Court later on Thursday, even the 84 year old Dutch lady featured in one of our photographs from the scene.
The Bridge club was formed in 1994 and has never encountered a problem such as this. The players are believed to have been charged with gambling offenses, even though they claim no evidence of gambling was present. In addition because the playing cards did not possess an official government seal on the card boxes, this was another offense the officials added to the report of the raid.
UPDATE – 4 February – 12.00pm
Pattaya One was contacted once again by a member of the Bridge Club who informed us that all players have been released on bail pending further investigations. Police decided not to refer the case to Court at this point pending further discussions with the Chief of Banglamung District, who instigated the raid, and the President of the Contract Bridge League of Thailand who traveled to Pattaya to provide further information on “Bridge” and how it is played for points and not money.