Eighty-four (84) Chinese nationals caught during the raid by Palau law enforcement officers on illegal online gaming dens were cited with violation of Immigration and Labor laws and were each charged a $50 fine andare now awaiting deportation.
The status of remaining people caught is still unclear. According to initial report from the Ministry of Justice, 142 people were caught in a coordinated raid at three different locations, in a single night by law enforcement officers from Bureau of Public Safety, Narcotics Enforcement Agency, Customs & Border Protection, Immigration and Labor officers.
Reports and investigation revealed that a growing number of unlicensed online gaming operations have started in Palau. Employees are brought in as tourists, live in cramped conditions, work up to 14 hours a day, 6 days a week on illegal online gaming.
During the raid, hundreds of laptops, cellphones, money and other items were confiscated.
Minister of Justice and Vice PresidentRaynoldOilouch during a public hearing with members of Palau national congress explained that due to limited manpower and lack of facilities, a decision was made to cite people caught, have them pay fines and deport them.
The decision was objected to by some members of congress who felt that such light punishment sends out wrong message about Palau to perpetrators of such crimes.
Vice President Oilouch expressed that with only 6 prosecutors for the Republic who are already overwhelmed by heavy workload, this was the most practical solution they saw to the problem.
Meanwhile House of Delegates has introduced an amendment to the current Virtual Pachinko and Internet Digital Lottery law, seeking to expand the definition of allowed gaming to online gaming and to expand number licenses from 4 to 10.