Bangladesh’s authorities have initiated a significant crackdown on illegal gambling, and those captured in the sweep include a chief of the ruling political party’s youth wing.
On Wednesday, police raided five institutions accused of harbouring illegal casino activities in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. In the process, 182 people were detained by the Rapid Action Battalion, including Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan, a Jubo League chief, the Awami League party’s youth wing.
Gambling in Bangladesh is strictly forbidden, and police claim to have been working on subterranean casinos intelligence, some of which were allegedly operating 24 hours a day. The attack on the Youngmen’s Club, apparently a football club in the Fakirerpool district of Dhaka, led in some 142 arrests, 16 of which were employees.
Police confiscated a range of gambling items, including blackjack tables and slot machines, as well as alcohol, illegal drugs, a few firearms and an unspecified amount of money sum.
According to the he Daily Star one of the arrested gamblers claiming to have lost BTK15 m (US$ 177,500) over the previous six months at the Youngmen’s Club. The police had mobile courts with them on their searches and 31 of those detained were already convicted to one year in prison, while the others were condemned to six months.
The detention of the Khalid of the Jubo League, led to a flurry of charges, with some claiming that the police allowed the casinos to function with impunity, while others think that the attacks were politically driven to harm the standing of the Awami League.
Home Secretary Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal dismissed the concept of any conspiracy against the Jubo League or its management and advised that anyone discovered to be engaged in illegal gambling–including police officers–will be sued to the complete extent of the legislation.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders accused the regime of converting Dhaka into a “gambling and sin city” like Las Vegas. Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan asserted that “the ethics and morals of people are washing away” as the state is pushing the growth programs of the country.