With the rainy season approaching, a Battambang Provincial Administration spokesman said the authorities would get tough on all gamblers – especially those who gather to gamble on rainfall – and enforce Covid-19 preventive health measures.
Provincial hall spokesman Moul Thun told The Post on May 18 that the administration is strengthening preventative health measures, and gatherings that breach government and health ministry guidelines are banned.
“Failing to support government efforts to stop Covid-19 already results in a penalty and gathering to gamble, such as rainfall bets, card and dice games is another offence. So, offenders would not be tolerated and and would be sent to court,” he said.
Thun cited an instance on April 19, when police raided gambling dens behind a supermarket in Battambang town and referred 13 people to court.
However, a few local media outlets have recently reported that rainfall bets continue in areas across the province, especially at Boeung Chhouk Market where a man known as Tal is a “high roller”.
They alleged that the authorities had only shut down small gambling locations but ignored the bigger ones.
Im Kosal, head of the provincial police’s Quick Reaction Unit, told The Post on May 18 that police regularly monitored Boeung Chhouk Market, but no gambling was evident.
He added that Tal was notorious as a big rainfall gambler. An investigation a few years ago had revealed his activities. However, he has not gambled of late.
“Catching rainfall gamblers is not easy as they bet on chart messenger and walkie-talkies. So, if there is no clear evidence, we cannot raid a place.”
Provincial deputy governor Nob Dara, who also chairs the commission for the suppression of all kinds of gambling, told The Post that people had already gathered to gamble in the province, including the rainfall bets.
He called on the public and journalists to report gambling dens, especially to the commission, so that the police could break them up and arrest gamblers. A tip-off will get a reward from the provincial administration, he said.
“I will offer a reward to anyone for reporting illegal gambling dens so we can raid them and arrest offenders engaging in these flagrant activities,” he said.