Thimphu police arrested 11 men and four women, aged 28 to 51, for alleged gambling last week. They were civil servants, businessmen, housewives, tour guides and taxi drivers.

The officer-in-command (OC) said police arrested them based on information they received from four different places.

He said three men and a woman were arrested from Hongkong Market on April 30.  They were found playing cards. “Three men were arrested from the Centenary Farmers’ Market for playing dice on the same day.”

The OC said that of the seven detained, six availed bail on May 4.

Each of them paid a bail security of Nu 20,000.

On May 4, Police arrested three women from Motithang for alleged gambling and five men for playing dice inside a Bolero at the Taxi parking area in Changlingmithang. All eight involved were in police custody as of yesterday.

The OC said that some were arrested after police, during patrolling, found them gambling.

Police seized the cards, dice and cash from those involved.

The OC said that most of those arrested claimed that they played the cards and dice for leisure.

“Everyone knows that gambling is an offence yet there are people who gamble,” he said. “There are some who continue gambling even after being detained for the same offence before.”

The OC explained that gambling is graded as a petty misdemeanour in the Penal Code.

Section 393 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004 states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of gambling, if the person stakes or wagers something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance, or a future contingent event not under the defendant’s control or influence upon an agreement or understanding that the defendant will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.

Section 395 of the Penal Code, however, states that an authorised lottery is not considered to be gambling.

The OC said that police will continue to arrest gamblers. “People are requested to refrain from getting involved in any kind of gambling.”

Dechen Tshomo