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37 arrested for gambling

Thimphu police arrested 37 people involved in 10 gambling cases this year alone.

According to the police, the latest arrest involving three people was made on July 2. Of the total arrested, 32 were male and five female.

Of the 10 cases, eight involved playing cards and two dice.

Police said that three cases are under investigation and seven cases have been charge-sheeted to the Thimphu District court.

The Thimphu district court registered nine gambling cases as of now at criminal bench I and II. The cases are under process of hearing.

Police said that they usually act on a tip off.

Section 393 of Penal Code of Bhutan 2004 states that a defendant would be guilty of the offence of gambling if the defendant stakes or wagers something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the defendant’s control or influence upon an agreement or understanding that the defendant will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.

The offence of gambling will be a petty misdemeanor. If convicted, the defendant shall be liable to a maximum imprisonment of less than one year and a minimum term of one month.

In the 47th session of the National Assembly (NA) resolution in 1977, the NA decided that gambling in towns, districts and villages of the country would be completely baned with effect from January 1, 1978.

The issue of banning gambling was discussed in several sessions of the assembly since it has a lot of implications on society and families.

The 86th session of the NA in 2007 had resolved to ban trade fairs and gambling activities during Tsechus, and wang and lung ceremonies. The Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs issued a circular to the Dzongdas, chairmen and local leaders directing them to strictly enforce a ban on gambling.

Although gambling is illegal in the country, it is still rampant across the country and especially in urban hubs.

Police said they are trying to create awareness on the issue through social media.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu

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