'Bets can go into hundreds of dollars'

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He has been living in the neighbourhood with his family for almost 15 years.

The security guard, 50, who declined to be named, said that since late last year, he has noticed that a corner of the void deck of Block 24, Chai Chee Road, turns into a “mini casino” every night.

The father of two, who lives in a nearby one-room rental flat with his wife, said: “I come home around 10pm every night and there will be about 20 people gambling at the stone tables there.

“People of all ages and races come to look. Many even join in the games. But not me. I’ve got better things to do with my money.”

He said the gambling starts around 9pm and ends around 3am.

“I’m sure that the gambling operators hire people to look out for police officers in the vicinity. Whenever one is spotted, the gamblers will stop and pack up. They will resume soon afterwards when the coast is clear.”

Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday that the gambling originally started with about 10 people, but the number has since swelled.

GAMES

It also reported that the gamblers play different games, including blackjack.

A witness, who was not identified, said each bet can go up to hundreds of dollars.

A Wanbao reporter went to the scene on Saturday evening but no gambling activities took place as there was a police patrol car nearby.

The New Paper visited the block of one-room flats yesterday and did not spot any gambling activities at the void deck in the evening.

There were about five senior citizens seated at one of the three stone tables but they declined to comment when approached.

Another resident, who also asked to remain anonymous, said ma-ny of the gamblers are senior citizens.

She said: “Many are retirees and I think, even if they are still working, they definitely do not earn much. It is sad to see them throw their money away so easily.”

The security guard told TNP that he has not told the authorities about the gamblers.

He said: “I don’t think they disturb anyone. I also don’t want any trouble so I just ignore them and mind my own business.”

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 7, 2016.
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