Thai seas off-limit to casino cruises
By Paul
A Thai company which operates a cruise ship with a casino on board will lose its licence if it is found to allow gambling in Thai territorial waters.

The Thai cabinet has ordered police and customs officials to closely inspect the Panamanian-registered Superstar Capricorn, operated by Star Cruises Co, to ensure it did not violate Thai laws, government spokesman Yongyut Tiyapairat said.

The Harbour Department would revoke the company's licence if passengers were allowed to gamble in Thai waters.

The cruise ship operates on the Laem Chabang-Koh Kud-Koh Chang-Koh Samui route.

Democrat MP Alongkorn Polabutr has alleged the ship ``openly'' provided gambling services in the Gulf of Thailand.

Deputy Transport Minister Pracha Maleenond denied allowing the Superstar Capricorn to operate as a casino cruise ship, saying he had approved a licence for tour operations only.

However, Pracha said authorities could do nothing if the liner opened its casino while outside Thai waters.

Alongkorn said that seemed to imply that there is nothing wrong with gambling as long as it doesn’t take place in Thailand.

Harbour Department chief Wanchai Sarathoonthat and the police had admitted they did not have staff to control gambling on board.

National police chief Sant Sarutanond said there was no clear evidence the casino operated in Thai waters.

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