Undaunted by constant police raids, a gang running an illegal gambling scheme in southern Turkey under the guise of a political party has now founded a labor union as a cover for their activities.
Police in the southern city of Adana raided a building on a tip that suspects were organizing bingo games yesterday. The building was apparently the location of the aptly titled Labor Union of Recreation, Culture and Accommodation, but the work force of the union was familiar to police. Indeed, they were the same suspects who ran an illicit gambling operation last year in Adana, taking advantage of the immunity of political parties to closure. A building was converted into offices of the Rise of Nationalist Will Party, which was in fact hosting regular parties for gamblers. Despite frequent raids, the suspects got away with fines and the police were unable to shut down the operation because of the aforementioned immunity.
In yesterday's raids, 89 people were fined for illegal gambling while 12 others including the president of the labor union were detained for hosting gambling.
Party members had perplexed police in previous operations with their scheme to hide their gambling activities, such as four wrought-iron doors used as an entrance to the gambling den and an underground tunnel running parallel to a sewer line where gamblers threw the evidence when the police raided the premises.
Gambling is illegal in Turkey, with casinos being banned in 1998, but illegal gambling thrives with gangs running secret casinos in posh villas for high rollers.