Three Chinese nationals allegedly engaged in the illegal distribution of slot machines used for gambling have been busted by officials of the Gaming Commission of Ghana.
The three, made up of two men and a woman, were identified as illegal gaming operators who had not been licensed to engage in any game of chance, neither do they have a licence authorising them to operate, import, sell or distribute any of the machines in their possession.
The three, Mr Su Zhejing, 28, Zhou Xiangsheng, 57; and Ms Zhou Zhaonan, 31, were picked up during a swoop by a joint police task force.
Xiangsheng and Ms Zhou Zhaonan, with their Ghanaian driver were operating at Nungua Maami, in Accra distributing slot machines in a Kia Sorento with registration number GW 3338 – 17.
The third suspect, Su Zhejing, was picked up at Haatso, a suburb of Accra where he had an assembling plant that assembles the machines in the country and distributes them.
In all, 16 of such gambling machines were retrieved by the task force.
Impact of illegal gaming operators
The recent surge in activities of illegal gaming operators has become a national concern as such operators place the machines in open places.
Aside from that, the operators evade payment of the requisite gaming licence fees and taxes.
The commission has instituted a joint police task force, which undertakes swoops weekly, to clamp down on illegal gaming operators and minors engaged in gambling.
Giving an insight into the activities of the illegal operators in an interview, the Public Affairs Manager of the commission, Ms Beatrice Baiden, said since 2016 when the joint police task force was formed and started work this year, “this is the first time we have laid hands on the main distributors.”
Ms Baiden said the commission had had challenges getting those behind the illegal activities because the main distributors and operators, who were mostly foreigners, were always at the background with Ghanaians fronting for them.
Ms Baiden said the swoop was the beginning of many more of such, dropping the hint that “we are leaving no stone unturned and will deal with anyone caught irrespective of who the person is.”
She added that the commission was cracking the whip to restore sanity in the gaming industry and appealed to the public to collaborate with the police.
Ms Baiden told the Daily Graphic that the three had been handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.