Four residents of Fan Tin Village in Lok Ma Chau were arrested Tuesday for allegedly assaulting a mainland man who was accused of cheating at mah-jongg over the past few months with marked tiles and special contact lenses.
Villagers said the 37-year-old man, surnamed Zeng, was caught red-handed Monday night after winning handsomely at the mah-jongg table, Metro Daily reported Wednesday.
At least two male villagers, surnamed Lee, 30, and Poon, 58, immediately attacked Zeng with folding chairs.
Zeng suffered injuries to his head and shoulder.
The attack occurred at a village store owned by an elderly lady surnamed Tang, who sells coffee and sandwiches and also rents out an electric mah-jongg table to villagers.
Villagers said Zeng is from Yangjiang, Guangdong province, and has lived in Fan Tin for one or two years in a rented flat with his wife and three children.
The family relies for its income on the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme, the villagers said.
Over the past six months, Zeng has been a frequent visitor to Tang’s store, playing mah-jongg against fellow villagers and wagering up to HK$500 (US$64.50) or even HK$1,000 per game.
The villagers said he enjoyed an incredible winning streak during the period, some suggesting that Zeng must have pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in winnings.
A villager surnamed Man said he lost HK$100,000 to Zeng over the past two months.
Zeng’s unbroken record of winnings prompted suspicion that he might have been cheating.
Some villagers brought with them an infrared light device and found that the mah-jongg tiles were marked with numbers and signs.
They forced Zeng to take off his contact lenses, which they suspected were infrared contact lenses used to read the hidden marks on the tiles.
Some angry villagers attacked Zeng with folding chairs from the store.
Police arrested four villagers on suspicion of assault and took the mah-jongg tiles to the police station for inspection.
Contact lenses that are claimed to allow the wearer to read special hidden marks on items used in gambling are reportedly available for sale online for as little as 800 yuan (US$121.45) in mainland China, with special infrared ink included.
Cheating using contact lenses has not been uncommon in the mainland in recent years.
What happened at Fan Tin Village reminded netizens of the plot of the popular local movie God of Gamblers, starring Chow Yun-fat, that was a box office hit more than 20 years ago.
In the movie, the God of Gamblers outfoxed his rival by wearing a pair of infrared contact lenses made in Germany; his opponent was using a pair of similar glasses from the United States.
Some villagers have now come to understand why Zeng was often seen opting for more difficult – and more profitable — ways to win a game, as he was able to see what tiles were coming next, Ming Pao Daily reported.
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