3,880 gambling machines crushed

Authorities have destroyed thousands of gambling machines seized since the May 22 coup as part of the junta's overall crackdown on lawlessness.

Police, soldiers and administrators witnessed the destruction of the machines including pinball, slot and horse racing machines on Saturday.

Most of the equipment — 3,700 devices and 1,200 electronic circuit boards for gambling machines — was crushed at the 11th Infantry Regiment in Bang Khen district of Bangkok. They had been seized in raids at various locations nationwide. Another 180 machines and 160 circuit boards seized in the North were destroyed at the King Naresuan Camp in Phitsanulok province.

The debris will be burned in an incinerator at the Bangpoo Industrial Estate in Samut Prakan province.

Witnessing the activity in Bangkok, acting police chief Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said the machines had been seized before July 15. Earlier, he said, there had not been a law to authorise police to seize such machines that had stood without a player.

He thanked Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), for issuing an announcement to declare gambling machines and their possession illegal. That had resulted in more frequent roundups, Pol Gen Watcharapol said.

He said that gambling machines generated daily income of between 1,000 and 20,000 baht each and had an especially harmful impact on young people.

He said he believed that many more gambling machines were still hidden away but that local production of the devices, except for their imported circuits, had already stopped.

Police are trying to trace the owners of the seized machines, Pol Gen Watcharapol added.

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