Military Police Arrest 13 Men Over Lottery Racket in Takeo

Military police raided a rental house in Takeo province’s Donkeo City on Tuesday afternoon and arrested 13 men as they drank coffee and played the lottery for their suspected involvement in the sale and purchase of illegal lottery tickets, officials said Wednesday.

Accompanied by deputy provincial court prosecutor Chey Rithy, the military police swooped in on the residence in Roka Krao commune at about 4 p.m., said provincial military police commander La Lay, who led the raid.

“We arrested 13 men. Some of them were drinking coffee, others were…filling out the tickets, but the lottery organizers were not there, as they had run away,” he said.

Brigadier General Lay said military police were unable to distinguish those filling out the illegal tickets from those simply enjoying a cup of coffee, so officers arrested them all—and would let the court decide who was who.

Though none of the suspects is likely to face serious punishment, Brig. Gen. Lay said, it is necessary to come down hard on small-scale, unlicensed lottery operations, as they constitute a form of illegal gambling.

The suspects will be sent to the provincial court for questioning today, he added.

“[T]he law states that [unlicensed] lotteries are illegal,” said Mr. Rithy, the deputy prosecutor. “If this was a major lottery, they might have been able to get permission from the government [to sell tickets].”

Chhay Mony, deputy chief of Roka Krao village, where the house was located, said Wednesday that despite the 13 arrests Tuesday, at least two lottery organizers in the area remain free, and would set up shop again soon.

“Oh, there are a lot of lottery organizers, but the police and military police do not…arrest them because they receive money from them,” he said.

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