Thailand’s National police chief has ordered an investigation into reports that two illegal gambling dens in Chanthaburi province were sources of Covid-19 infections.
Police inspector-general Pol Gen Wissanu Prasarttong-Osoth said on Friday that both casinos are believed to be the source of 15 new Covid cases found in Chanthaburi province. He said the 15 people had visited either one of the two casinos or both.
The first was in tambon Nern Soong in Tha Mai district and the other in tambon Nong Sri Nga in Na Yai Am district. Five hundred people, Thais and Cambodian, are thought to have frequented both gambling dens, Pol Gen Wissanu said.
So far, health officials have located and tested 338 people — 270 Thai gamblers and 68 Cambodian workers. Results confirmed that 15 people tested positive for Covid-19.
Pol Gen Wissanu also said the Royal Thai Police would launch a probe into the conduct of local police in Chathaburi province where the gambling dens were.
He said those found to be complicit in the running of the dens or negligent would face penalties similar to the heads of police stations in Chon Buri and Rayong who were transferred and face disciplinary probe after gambling dens were found to be the source of Covid-19 infections in their areas.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports, the Department of Health has instructed all 12 public health offices across the country to ensure that all vendors at fresh markets and street food sellers wear a face mask and use clean utensils to pick up food.
Crackdown on Online Gambling Sites
Thailand is cracking down on online gambling websites. Internet providers will have 15 days to block 1,202 gambling websites before charges are pressed for violating Thailand’s Computer Crime Act. Although gambling is technically illegal in Thailand, underground and online gambling thrives in pockets of the country.
The Digital Economy and Society Ministry was ordered by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to crack down on illegal online gambling. The spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister says Prayut ordered the ministry to block the hundreds of gambling websites. The ministry has requested 1,202 court warrants citing Computer Crime Act violations.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission is collaborating with the ministry to block access to the gambling websites. The spokesperson adds they are working to solve the issue of online gambling very quickly, adding that the strict order is aimed at keeping teenagers away from online gambling. The news website Xinhua says since the websites are easy to access, many people, especially adolescents, get addicted to gambling and end up spending a lot of money.
On the other hand, leader of the Thai Civilised Party Mongkolkit Suksintharanon pushed for legalisation of online gambling last month. He says that foreign gaming websites bring in no revenue to Thailand and if online gambling are legal, the taxes could bring in 5 to 6 billion baht a year.
“There are many online gambling websites running in foreign countries for Thai people. The websites were running legally while it was illegal for Thai gamblers to play. There is also no taxation charged for gamblers and the Revenue Department is still confused about the law since it is ambiguous.”