Demolish gambling den, says senior police officer
Police Inspector-General Seripisut Temiyavej yesterday said it was likely he would ask the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) to demolish a gambling den in Bangkok's Pinklao area.
Officers escort police forensic expert Manas Termthanasak to an interrogation session yesterday after he was arrested, along with scores of punters, during a raid on a gambling den on a condominium rooftop in Bangkok’s Pinklao area, allegedly operated by
Police special forces swooped on the den on Wednesday, rounding up 404 gamblers on the eighth floor of a condominium.
They seized Bt900,000 in cash and gambling chips that taken at face value were worth Bt13 million, Seripisut said.
Among those arrested was a forensic police officer, Senior Sgt-Major Manas Termthanasak, 42, who is suspected of owning the building and was charged over allowing and benefiting from gambling.
Seripisut said Manas worked with the Crime Suppression Division before he was moved to the Forensic Office, then moved to Nakhon Ratchasima in 2004, and back to the Forensic Office in June 2005.
Manas had allegedly collected money from gambling dens for his supervisor from 1998 until this year, before buying the Pinklao condominium and setting up shop for himself.
He had been paying officers in the Metropolitan Police Bureau to allow him to operate, Seripisut said.
Police have requested search warrants for Manas' home and those of his associates, he said.
Seripisut said he would ask the AMLO to seize the building, and then he'd probably ask that it be bulldozed, so there was no possibility of it re-opening.
Manas is pleading his innocence.
Yesterday, when presented with documentary evidence of he and his alleged mistresses' involvement on the board of the corporation maintaining the condo, Manas dismissed the claim as false. He said he was only at the den to repay a bad gambling debt, had not been gambling that night and was in no way involved in owning the condo.
Crime Suppression Division commander, Maj-General Winai Thongsong, said legal action would begin against the 181 male and 223 female gamblers arrested in Taling Chan District Court today.
In a related development Police Commissioner General Kowit Wattana has signed a transfer order for Metropolitan Police Division 7 Commander Maj-General Boonsong Panit-arttra to the National Police Office indefinitely, a source said.
It has also been reported that six Pinklao police officers have been transferred out of the area after Wednesday's raid.
Kowit has also assigned a fact-finding team to investigate whether local police officers had either been negligent in not knowing the den existed, or were complicit in its operations, having been paid off.
Meanwhile, Thon Buri Electricity Authority yesterday found that the condominium's electricity meter had been tampered with to slow it down and would propose a Bt50,000 fine for the building's owners and begin establishing charges for unpaid power bills.