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Singapore police raid Senegalese 'casino consulate' on gambling tip.

SINGAPORE, Nov. 5 Kyodo

Singapore police raided Senegal's consulate late Friday after getting a tip-off the consulate was being used for illegal gambling, a police spokesman said Sunday.

A total of 31 people -- 14 Singaporeans and 17 foreigners -- were arrested in the raid at the consulate on the fifth floor of a building in the eastern part of Singapore, police said.

Of them, 23 were charged in the Subordinate Court with operating an illegal gambling den.

Singapore police are still looking for Senegal's honorary consul, Indonesian businessman Benny Kusni, who has gone missing.

Local newspapers reported more than S$1 million (US$640,000) was changing hands each night and that the consulate even had a VIP room for high-rollers willing to bet at least S$100,000

The Sunday Times said that up to 100 punters regularly congregated at the site.

Singapore and Senegal established diplomatic ties in 1999.

According to the Singapore Foreign Ministry, honorary consuls do not enjoy diplomatic immunity and privileges, and it is up to the police to decide on the action to take against Kusni.

Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo was quoted as saying the incident should not affect diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Singapore, which recently lifted a longtime ban on casinos, now only legally allows gambling such as lotteries, bets on football matches and horseracing.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Nov 6, 2006
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