Bago residents accuse troops of hosting illegal gambling

Dec 22, 2008 (DVB), Residents of eastern Bago division have complained that State Peace and Development Council troops have set up an illegal gambling centre on their base.

Residents said dice and card games, football pools, cockfights and other outlawed forms of gambling had been taking place on an artillery battalion compound near Ballnaygyi village.

The gambling centre has reportedly been set up by government troops with cooperation of similar centres in Bago, Thanatpin, Hlegu, Theinzayat towns.

One local resident said people could gamble there day or night, seven days a week, but said those who won money had to give a large proportion of their winnings to the army.

"They also employ young women to make the centres more lively," he said.

"People are pawning their homes, land and cars as they keep losing. Winners also have to give the army a generous cut."

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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