Singapore police have raided the Senegalese consulate over allegations it was being used as an illegal gambling den, a newspaper said on Saturday.
Officers swooped on the consulate building after undercover reporters for the Straits Times found it housed a makeshift casino, the newspaper reported.
A police spokesman said 14 men and 17 women were arrested and more than 80,000 Singapore (51,282 US) dollars in cash and gambling materials seized during a raid on an office on Friday, although he did not confirm the consulate’s involvement.
The newspaper, whose reporters spent three nights undercover in the consulate’s premises, carried photos of gamblers and described how waitresses pampered them with sliced fruit, drinks and hot towels.
The consulate, set up in January this year, is open for business during the day, but by night the travel brochures make way for bacarrat tables, the Straits Times said.
About one million dollars worth of chips changes hands each night, with bets ranging from 100 dollars to 30,000 dollars per game, and only a framed photograph of Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade serves as a reminder that the place is a diplomatic outpost, the report said.
Under Singapore law, operating a gambling den is punishable by a maximum fine of 50,000 dollars and a jail term of up to three years.
Singapore’s foreign ministry said Senegal’s consulate is headed by an honorary consul, who was identified by the Straits Times as an Indonesian businessman, and did not enjoy diplomatic immunity.
“Honorary consuls do not enjoy diplomatic immunities and privileges. It is therefore up to the police to determine what action, if any, should be taken against the Honorary Consul of Senegal,” the ministry said.
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