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On Monday police raided a Bridge club in South Pattaya. Since then the story has gained global interest and questions have been raised about the legalities of the raid.
The raid, that took place at a 2nd floor rented apartment on Monday night, came about after officers received a tip-off about a regular gathering of foreign nationals. Over 50 officers stormed the apartment where the Jomtien and Pattaya Bridge Club meet 3 times a week. They found eight tables with thirty two foreign nationals playing the popular card game Bridge.
Although no money was changing hands the officers deemed an offense to have been committed. The players were charged with gambling offences and organiser Mr. Jeremy Watson, 74 from the UK was further detained for questioning. The offence relates to Section 8 of the card playing act of 1935 that states an individual is not allowed to possess more than one hundred and twenty playing cards at any one time, a considerably larger number of cards were found during the raid.
All players have now been released on bail pending further investigations. Discussions are now taking place between the police and the President of the Contract Bridge League of Thailand who says that the game is new to Thai’s, is already part of the ASEAN games and is likely to feature in the Olympic Games in the future. She went on to say that an amendment to the Gambling Laws in 1960 allows or such games to be played as no money change hands, as players accumulate points rather than cash. It is hoped that the charges will be dropped and the 5,000 baht bail money will be returned to the players. This is the first time the club has encountered any problems since it was formed in 1994.