Date
12 December 2017
Prison searches have uncovered gambling equipment, including homemade playing cards, chess sets and dice made from a few simple materials. Photo: Now TV
Prison searches have uncovered gambling equipment, including homemade playing cards, chess sets and dice made from a few simple materials. Photo: Now TV

Bread-based gambling staple uncovered in prison searches

Take bread, liquid hand soap and water and you have the makings of gambling equipment banned in Hong Kong’s prisons.

Correctional Services said the materials were used to make dice found in sweeps of city prisons over the last few months, Headline News reported Thursday.   

Principal officer Liu Wing-lok said other homemade gambling equipment uncovered included playing cards and mahjong sets. Liu said prisoners are not allowed to make recreational materials, even chess sets, which could also be made from bread.

The prison authorities are also deploying 29 “snakes” and two dozen “giraffes” to help root out gambling equipment ahead of the World Cup, Wen Wei Po reported. The snake is a water-resistant camera that can peer into nooks and crannies like water pipes. The giraffes are cameras with eyes in high places.

Acting Senior Superintendent Tse Ho-yin said staff will be on the lookout during the night for illegal World Cup betting. Tse said odds set by prisoners will be lower than the market rate because inmates won’t be able to read newspaper reports on the ratios. But they will still get information on the games from radio and television.

During the 2010 World Cup, 27 prisoners were disciplined for gambling.

Tse said the betting situation should be under control this year thanks to the searches and counseling. 

The department made 2,112 searches in the first five months, up 40 percent from same time last year, turning up 62 betting slips for football matches and 18 slips for horse races. The wagers involved 6,658 packs of cigarettes valued at HK$1 million.

In all, 46 people were disciplined, with penalties ranging from solitary confinement to pay cuts. The total is less that the 63 prisoners who were disciplined at the same time last year. 

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