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Police in Chiang Mai have reacted swiftly to public complaints claiming the ubiquitous claw crane toy games are little more than an excuse for gambling.
Yesterday Thaivisa reported the complaints with claims that the machines were enticing children into gambling.
And they were causing parents hardship in having to turn down their children’s pestering for coins to feed the machines that are found not only in Chiang Mai but all over Thailand’s malls.
It was also said that the prizes were cheap copies and the machines were just a total ripoff netting operators 100,000s of baht a month.
It was further said that previous crackdowns had gone by the wayside with an explosion of new games having been set up.
Chiang Mai News reported that the provincial governor ordered an immediate investigation after the complaints were made.
Claw crane toy games throughout the city were covered by black cloth as Region 5 police swooped.
Led by Pol Col Rungsakun Bunkrapheu two arrests of operators were made.
Arrested on the fourth floor of Central Airport Plaza was Jaruprapha Janthrawong, 32. She had one machine.
Arrested at the Promenada Resort Mall’s first floor was Panya Chochuangnapha, 52. He also had one machine.
They were charged with operating a gambling device – namely a claw crane toy machine – without a licence.
Thaivisa notes that it remains to be seen if the games become the latest “gambling medium” to be targeted or if the two arrests are just fall guys.
Pensioners in Pattaya were famously arrested some years back for playing bridge and darts has come under scrutiny.
Gambling infractions are a serious business in Thailand though Thaivisa further notes that claims last year that the game “Connect Four” was being cracked down upon was an in-company April Fool’s day joke.