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Covering Our Bets?

Nationwide Crackdown on Illegal Gambling Includes Police Raid on Grand Bali Beach Hotel.

(7/24/2005) When Indonesia's new Chief of Police, General Sutanto pledged to eliminate gambling in Indonesia and gave his regional police chiefs just one week to eradicate illegal gaming in their precincts of operation, the word on the street was that Jakarta bookies wasted no time in laying heavy odds against the success of the much publicized "get tough" campaign on gambling.

Undeterred by skeptics and Nay Sayers, General Sutanto even went so far as to demand a written undertaking from each of his provincial police chiefs acknowledging that if they failed in the gambling clean-up they were prepared to accept replacement.

Meanwhile, those discounting the efficacy and sincerity of the new anti-gambling campaign have been quoted in the national press, saying only small-time gamblers and numbers runners were being targeted in the crackdown, while large-scale illegal casinos across the Country remained untouched; rendered untouchable behind a protective wall of official protection.

Bali Police Raid Grand Bali Beach

Locals in Bali awoke to the startling page-one story on Friday morning's Bali Post that during the night of Thursday, Julyy 21, 2005, nearly 100 members of the Bali police conducted sweeping raid on the historically famous Inna Grand Bali Beach - the tallest and one of the oldest hotels on the island.

The raid, which got underway at 10:30 p.m. local time, targeted the luxurious 10th floor supper club of the 574-room hotel which, according to the Hotel's Public Relation's Officer and General Manager, quoted in Bali Post, has been rented two month's ago on a 5 year contract to a local businessman of Korean heritage at a cost of Rp. 28 million (approximately US$2,850) per month. The businessman had even obtained an official government business permit for the operation of a pin-ball and similar skill-based parlor games, activities allowed in Indonesia providing they do not involve gambling.

According to press reports, when police arrived at the scene they found a well-equipped casino with around 30 jackpot machines, a number of felt-covered gaming tables including a roulette table, and wide range of other gambling paraphernalia. Missing from the scene however, were the actual punters and the owner/managers of the facility, apparently warned in advance of the raid of the police's impending arrival. Quoted in the Bali Post, the Chief of the South Denpasar Police Precinct, Gede Adhi, said, "I am also amazed that such a well-organized raid was leaked (to the casino)."

Meanwhile, the hotel's management has issued statements to the local press disavowing any knowledge of the illegal gambling den operating in their hotel, claiming they were strictly barred from entering the floor by the tenant.

Bali police continue their investigation, including interviewing a number of staff of the illegal casino netted in the raid.

Bali's Chief of Police Made Mangku Pastika, while admitting prosecutions in connection with the Inna Grand Bali Beach raid are made problematic by the failure to catch gamblers "in the act," renewed his promise to crack down on gambling, inviting those involved to gambling to take their equipment and leave the island immediately.

If required, Chief Pastika said he would sweep every hotel in Bali to ensure illegal casinos were not in operation.

According to Hotel sources, the management has received a reprimand letter from Bali's Chief of Police ordering that the 10th floor supper club be put under lock and seal for an indefinite period of time.