Provincial police have warned people not to participate in illegal gambling on fighting fish, fearing that such events could further fuel the spread of Covid19 virus.
Last Tuesday, police inspected a property in Bang Saphan Noi following reports that it was being used as a site for illegal fishing fights.
Upon inspection, police found aquariums and breeding tanks containing five different types of fighting fish, as well as paraphernalia suggesting that fish fights had taken place on the property.
However, the owner, Sawang Limsri, said that although he raises fighting fish for a hobby, he denied that anything illegal had taken place.
The police did not have enough evidence to formally charge Sawang. Instead, a compromise was reached in which Sawang agreed to set aside the set-up of his “hobby” tools, which police suspected had been used for fish-fighting purposes.
Meanwhile, Bang Saphan Noi police said they are stepping up surveillance to tackle illegal gambling
Like most gambling in Thailand, fishing is illegal and events usually take place underground. However, as with most gambling games in Thailand, the existence of such events is somewhat of an open secret. With regard to fish fighting, it has been an important part of Thai culture for centuries.
Today’s underground events usually involve two Siamese fighting fish being placed in a glass tank to fight it out with each other.
The Siamese fighting fish are known for their beauty, especially their bright colours and large fins. However, they are also extremely territorial and aggressive and placing two males close together inevitably leads to a fight, with the fish using their sharp teeth to tear their rival apart.
The Thai gamblers then bet on the winner, with a referee or judges deciding the course of the match.
Earlier this year, officials blamed people attending illegal gambling events and underground casinos for causing the spread of COVID-19 during the so-called “second wave” of infections in Thailand.
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