"sophisticated gambling ring" last Friday during a raid on a five-star hotel that was directly opposite the Jakarta Police Headquarters.
National police spokesman Insp. Gen. Abubakar Nataprawira revealed that a criminal investigation division squad had arrested 15 people at the Sultan Hotel in Central Jakarta during the raid, which was mounted following a tip-off. During the raid, the police seized Rp 91 million and US$400 in cash, jewelry and gambling equipment.
"They [the organisers] converted the room into a gambling den with three neon lamps, chairs, tables and a white board used to record scores," he said. "One of the suspects had allegedly rented the room since January 2008 and had hosted gambling every day from 3 p.m. to 4 a.m.," he added.
According to Abubakar, the suspects had said they were participating in a social game. But the police spokesman said: "The suspected organiser offered memberships to join the gambling ring and received some Rp 3 million (US$273) to Rp 5 million every day, plus extra money from winners."
The gambling ring was conducted with the utmost secrecy, Nataprawira said, pointing out that the hotel was located directly across from the Jakarta Police Headquarters.
If convicted, the organiser could be imprisoned for up to 10 years or face a fine of Rp 25 million, while the arrested gamblers could spend up to four years in jail or face fines of up to Rp 10 million.
The police are questioning 12 people as witnesses. National Police deputy director Sr. Comr. Bachtiar Tambunan said the police suspected some of the hotel's employees may have aided in the gambling activity.
"The police are currently investigating the alleged involvement of the hotel's management. How come the management wasn't suspicious with dozens of people visiting the same room every day?" he said.
Shakira Tamayanti, the Sultan Hotel's marketing and communications manager denied the management had known gambling was taking place.
"We had no idea what kind of activities our guests were doing in their rooms. If we had known there had been gambling in our hotel, we would have reported it," she said. "In fact, the raid surprised us."
Shakira said the police had arrived at the hotel without prior warning, prompting the hotel's management to ask for a warrant. "We're currently waiting for police updates. The management will surely be cooperative if they need any help," she said.
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