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Saitama cops nab 18 in bust of Nishi Kawaguchi casino linked to yakuza

SAITAMA (TR) – Saitama Prefectural Police last week arrested 18 persons in the bust of an illegal casino in Kawaguchi City with ties to organized crime, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (June 14).

On the night of June 13, police raided Circus, located inside a multi-tenant building in the Nishi Kawaguchi district.

Officers later accused manager Tomohiro Hanaya, 50, and 12 other employees of providing customers with illegal wagering on baccarat.

Officers also seized four baccarat tables, playing cards and 12.25 million yen in cash. Five customers were also cited in the case.

Police seized four baccarat tables from Circus on June 13 (Twitter)

According to police, Circus operated even during the state of emergency that was in effect due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The state of emergency ended on May 25.

One customer said, “I wanted to make some money because my income decreased due to the coronavirus.”

Police noted that hand sanitizer was provided at the entrance of Circus. However, other measures suggested by the government to combat the spread of the coronavirus, such as proper ventilation and social distancing, were not in place.

Police believe that a portion of the income from the operation was funneled to a criminal syndicate.