Elderly Bridge Players Busted In Thailand

Open Jaw

Officials in Thailand's sin city of Pattaya have been working hard to clean up its image, but police may have taken the crackdown a little too far – perhaps a bridge too far.

A group of 32 mostly elderly Western retirees were busted by cops, Thai military and local officials on suspicion of illegal gambling. They were actually playing bridge.

Authorities (and there were plenty of them) were acting on an anonymous tip, Pattaya police chief Col. Sukathat Pumpanmuang said.

The bridge-playing group (gang?) included an 84 yr. old Dutch woman, local media reported.

The bohemian bridge bandits were released on bail of THB 5,000 - about $200, a fair whack for pensioners - but police say they will not be charged with illegal gambling.

The gambling charges were apparently dropped after the president of the Contract Bridge League of Thailand, Chodchoy Sophonpanich, lobbied on the group's behalf, insisting that bridge is recognised under Thai law as a sport and not gambling.

This is where it gets even weirder. Reports suggest police may lay charges under an obscure law which limits individuals to no more than 120 unregistered playing cards in their possession.

Police found no proof of any money changing hands but seized computers, playing cards and a book with the results of each game logged.

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