An illegal gambling stall playing the dice game ‘Big Small’ (Cantonese: Tai Sai) operates blatantly in broad daylight in a Geylang back alley. It attracts a large crowd of eager gamblers, said the Chinese media.

This stall is situated between the back alleys of Lorong 15 and 17, Geylang.

According to an insider, the illegal gambling activities have been going on daily for the past month. He told the reporter that, usually, gambling stalls operate in the evening or midnight in Geylang. But this stall operates from 4 to 5 am in the early morning, to about 10 am. Clearly, it is very bold and not afraid to operate in broad daylight.

The insider added that even though the stall starts operation in the wee hours of 4 to 5 am, it attracts a continuous crowd of gamblers. At times, there may be more than 30 people betting at the stall.

According to the reporter at the scene, the gambling table is about 2 metres long and there are 2 males acting as dealers with close to 20 gamblers betting on the dice game ‘Big Small’.

One of the dealers will roll the dice and keep an eye on the crowd. The other dealer takes charge of collecting the losing bets and paying out the winning ones.

On the table, there are cash, betting chips in denominations of $50 and $100 and metal rings believed to be betting props.

The reporter observed that the gamblers are roughly 20 to 60 years old. There are both male and female gamblers. All of them are in deep concentration, focusing on the dice rolled by the dealer each time. They are totally engrossed and oblivious to everything else. Bets of hundreds of dollars are commonplace and each “round” easily totals in the thousands. The reporter figures the gambling stall rakes in about $10,000 a day.

“Big Small” is a game of chance that is easy to grasp and does not require much thinking. Players place bets based on their gut feel and leave the rest to luck. Hence, the turnover rate for this game is very high.

Vietnamese syndicate operating gambling stall

The gambling stall is situated at a secluded spot. Lookouts are deployed at every corner. They keep a watchful eye on passersby. It appears that only those “in the know” are allowed to enter the gambling “arena”, so to speak.

The insider told the reporter that the dealers and lookouts are not locals, judging by their accents. They appear to belong to a Vietnamese syndicate that is said to have been operating in Geylang the past 3 years, right under the nose of our oh-so-competent police.

The insider further revealed that “Ah Long” aka illegal moneylenders are present to provide loans to gamblers on the spot. They are very well organized with representatives from different nationalities to cater to their own kind. This arrangement is thought to ensure that debtors make good on their loan, even if they “run back” to their own country.

Although the gambling stall has been exposed by the Chinese press, the operator is undeterred and continues operating as per normal. However, the number of lookouts has noticeably increased.

In response to media enquiry, our boys in blue claim to have carried out “strict and intensified” enforcement actions in Geylang. But if that is so, how are these foreigners able to operate unmolested for 3 years?

Hence it seems that even seedy Geylang is not spared competition with “foreign talents” (FTs). Indeed, the unabated influx of FTs has resulted in them spreading their tentacles into every facet of Singapore society, including the underworld.

Apart from security guards and taxi drivers, what jobs are there for Singaporeans without foreign competition? Even a Singaporean gangster has to compete with FTs.

What do you think?

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