Another week, another branch of Taiwan’s security apparatus embarrassing the government by getting caught up in illegal gambling activity.
On Friday, Taiwanese media reported that two police officers in New Taipei City had been indicted on charges of illegal gambling. The two officers, who stand accused of placing sizable wagers on baseball games via illegal bookmakers, have already been demoted and transferred to new assignments.
The officers’ escapades became public knowledge after a group of men surrounded a police station in the Sanchong District of New Taipei City, demanding that the two officers make good on their debts to an underground gambling operator. One of the officers owed NT 760k (US $25,160) while the other owed NT 3m ($99,300).
This is the second embarrassing gambling report to plague Taiwanese authorities in as many weeks. Last Friday, military authorities rumbled an illegal online betting pool that included numerous officers from different branches of the service.
Fortunately, Taiwan’s civilians are taking a little heat off the authorities by getting in their own gambling-related trouble. On Thursday, Taipei police broke up a knife and club fight outside a hair salon, the owner of which had a son who reportedly ran up baseball betting debts he couldn’t honor.
By the time police had reestablished order, several of the people involved in the melee had to be hospitalized while 11 individuals were eventually charged with everything from public disorder, blackmail and attempted murder.
Finally, police are still trying to determine the identity of the gunman who fired 51 shots at a Taipei mansion on Tuesday. The mansion’s owner is reportedly a high-volume betting whale with a knack for winning, and police are proceeding under the assumption that the shots were fired by angry bookies looking to reclaim some of their losses.
This is the part where we like to point out that Taiwan’s legal betting options include the local sports lottery and, well, that’s about it. These latest incidents amply demonstrate the hollow victories of prohibition-based gambling policies, but as the saying goes, history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce.
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