photo from Cliffside Hotel website

Sixty-two (62) more Chinese nationals were arrested last Friday, January 17 at Cliffside View Hotel (former Cliffside Hotel) in Echang, Koror during another raid on illegal online gaming activities.

According to the report from the Special Joint Task force, an onsite inspection of Cliffside View Hotel in Echang, a hotel legally registered to Longhui International Investment Corporation, they found 62 Chinese tourists engaged in illegal online activities that subjected them immediately to labor law violations.

The 62 persons are now awaiting proper judicial disposition of their criminal violations of Palau’s laws.

On New Year’s eve, the Special Task Force consisting of law enforcement officers from various law enforcement agencies, arrested 142 Chinese nationals at 3 different sites, 2 in Airai and 1 in Koror.  Last week, they were again able to apprehend 62 at Cliffside View Hotel.

Vice President Raynold Oilouch said during the public hearing on the online gaming bill that it is estimated about 1,000 people are involved in this illegal online gaming business in Palau and that more arrests were anticipated.

The Special Task Force created by Executive Order 424 is given a “limited mandate to investigate and deport foreign nationals with criminal backgrounds and/or engaging in illegal cyber-based activities including online gambling and other criminal activities.”

The Task force is informing the public “including all visiting foreign nationals, that except for those holding the only four (4) allowable licenses – two Virtual Pachinko and two Digital Lottery business licenses – all gambling activities (whether conducted physically in Palau or through the virtual internet world) are illegal.  Anyone caught engaging in or facilitating gambling activities in person or through the internet will be punished in accordance with the laws of the Republic.  Foreign nationals visiting Palau and engaging in unlicensed business activities, including conducting of illegal gambling activities online, will face criminal charges, citations and/or immediate deportation and permanent ban from returning to the country.”

The public is urged to assist the Special Task Force’s mandate in enforcing this important national policy to prevent unwanted illegal activities and persons of undesirable character from entering the Republic by relaying any important information about potential illegal activities relating to illegal online gaming activities to the Task Force by calling Rhinehart Silas at the Bureau of Revenue and Taxation at 488-2580/3303 or on cellular at 775-6445. (L.N. Reklai)