Kathmandu, October 30
Police raided four places in Kathmandu valley and arrested 59 persons for their alleged involvement in gambling yesterday.
According to Central Police News Section, police took 38 persons into custody from a house in Dhalpa of Kirtipur Municipality when they were playing kauda (a traditional form of gambling with 16 sea shells). Cash amounting Rs 1.55 million and gambling materials were also confiscated from the gambling den.
Similarly, police arrested six persons with Rs 34,200 in cash and kauda from a house in Shankharapur Municipality-6.
In yet another raid, eight persons were held from a cafe in Kathmandu Metropolitan City-32. Police confiscated Rs 63,500 in cash and cards from the gambling den. Likewise, seven persons were arrested with Rs 125,865 in cash and cards from a house in Suryamani of Bhaktapur Municipality-9. Officials said the gamblers would be charged under the Criminal Code Act that prohibits gambling. As per the act, any person involved in gambling or encouraging others to gamble is liable to a jail sentence of three months or a fine not exceeding Rs 30,000 for the first instance.
After police intensified vigilance on casinos to curb the entry of Nepali gamblers, the number of people visiting casinos has decreased. The law bars Nepali citizens from entering casinos for gambling. However, casino frequenters have now switched to gambling dens and have converted hotels, restaurants, eateries, auto workshops, pubs, bars and private offices and houses into gambling spots, according to police.
Police have stepped up crackdown on gambling of late. Rani Pokhari-based Metropolitan Police Office, which oversees security of the valley, said around 270 persons were arrested for gambling in Dashain and Tihar. All metropolitan police ranges, circles and sectors have formed anti-gambling squads in their concerned areas to swing into action whenever they receive a tip-off. Neighbours, wives and family members of the gamblers are among the key informants, who tip off local police about these gambling dens. Retired government employees, businesspersons and contractors top the list of gamblers.
According to police, gambling and crime are interlinked. It is also one of the reasons of domestic violence. Gambling is all-pervasive during major festivals.
A version of this article appears in print on October 31, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.