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November 4, 2009

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Two stand trial on casino charges

TWO South Korean men who allegedly ran a gambling house in the city went on trial in Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court yesterday.

The two admitted they had run a club for entertainment since May in a community in Minhang District. The house only admitted South Korean people and collected 100 yuan (US$14.64) per hour from each gambler.

But they said they were running more of a club than a profit-driven casino and didn't think it was a serious crime.

Prosecutors charged that Na Jongpil, 45, a South Korean man who managed an Internet cafe in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, and Kwun Hyuk Chul, a 52-year-old South Korean chef in Shanghai, opened the gambling house with another man, whom they described as the gang leader. He is being dealt with in a separate trial. They rented an apartment in Lane 91, Jinhui Road, Minhang District, where many Korean people live.

Na was in charge of inviting gamblers to play poker in the house and getting money from them. Kwun managed the casino with the third man, whose name in English was not disclosed.

Na brought three South Koreans from Yiwu to serve as assistants in the casino.

They had earned 100,000 yuan in profit from the gamblers before they were caught, authorities said. Na collected 60 percent of the money. The third man got 40 percent, sharing some of that with Kwun.

Police raided the poker parlor on June 12, confiscating more than 40,000 yuan in bets.

"The gang leader promised to open a restaurant for me in Shanghai. So I couldn't deny his request when he asked me to help run the place," Kwun said.

The court didn't announce a verdict yesterday.


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