Monday, November 06, 2006

Gambling in Senegal Consulate

Singapore police raided the Republic of Senegal 's consulate on Friday evening. The police action arose from a tip-off by The Straits Times, which had been alerted to the nocturnal activities taking place. Investigations by the ST showed that, while the consulate is open for official business during the day to deal with visa and other consular issues, it is filled from evening to dawn with about 100 gamblers, who crowd round its three baccarat tables.

Gamblers are mainly chinese in their 40s and 50s and about a S$1million (US$602,000) worth of chips changes hands every night, with the minimum bet per game set at S$100 and the maximum at S$30,000. The den even offers credit facilities for up to S$50,000 (US$30,000). The operation is sophisticated enough to cater even to high-rollers: A VIP room, in which only those with S$100,000 (US$60,000) worth of chips can play, is part of the set-up. These big-timers are afforded creature comforts: Among other things, a waitress brings them sliced fruit, drinks of their choice, and even hot towels.

Benny Kusni, an Indonesian businessman who lives here, is the republic’s honorary consul.
Honorary consuls are not paid for their diplomatic services and usually deal with applications for visas to the country which appointed them as representatives. While international conventions grant foreign consular officers and their premises immunity from local authorities, an honorary consul or his premises do not enjoy such privileges.

The den appears to be run by a Chinese Singaporean who looks to be in his 50s. He keeps a lookout for activities outside the consulate via the CCTV. A visit to the consulate on Saturday morning, during business hours, found it deserted save for two men, including one named “Johnson,” who described himself as Kusni’s assistant. (source: The Straits Times)
Tags: Singapore, Senegal, Consulate, The Straits Times, Baccarat, Gambling

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