HPD officer arrested in illegal gambling bust in Chinatown
HOUSTON, TX - An HPD officer is on the other side of the law following an illegal gambling sting. Investigators say, Officer Thomas Lam acted as a bouncer at Cafe Thanh Guynh in Bellaire for the gambling ring.
The arrests come as part of an ongoing joint operation in the Chinatown area by the District Attorney's Office and Houston Police, that has so far resulted in 41 arrests, including 3 police officers and the seizure of more than $2.4 million in cash.
"Organized crime thrives on money," District Attorney Ogg said. "We took millions from them."
Officer Thomas Lam was charged Thursday with providing protection for the operator of Cafe Thanh Quynh, an illegal gambling establishment located at 10804 Bellaire Blvd.
The cafe has hidden rooms where gamblers bet cash by playing gambling machines. Members of Kai Bang, a violent local gang, frequent the cafe.
"The officer decided who could get through the door to gamble. He is a prolific gambler and he gambled away his career," Ogg said.
Such game rooms are considered crime drivers in the area, as they have lots of cash and are targets for robbery and violence.
The evidence shows the officer was a regular player at the cafe, and had been seen there in uniform while on and off duty, Ogg said.
Among the civilians arrested Thursday was the alleged owner of the facility, a manager and other game-room workers who would make cash payouts to clients. Those charged on Thursday include: Houston Police Officer Thomas Lam, Vu The Vo, James Wang, Thy Nguyen, and Andy Vo.