The Maui Police Department dispatched their special Vice/Gambling/Morals Unit to raid a home located on Kaikai Street in Maui. The raid interrupted a home poker game and nine individuals were arrested in the incident. Police were able to raid the home because they obtained a search warrant. The raid took place on August 16th.
The game took place in the living room of the home and Khanhnha Vanhtha of Wailuku was arrested and charged with promotion gambling in the second degree as well as possession of a gambling device. police reported that Vanhtha was the owner of the home where the game was taking place.
Justin Chock of Wailuku was also arrested and charged with gambling in connection with the incident. Seven others were arrested on suspicion of gambling during the incident and they are:
- Scott Rosario, 42, of Waikapu.
- Lyle Richards, 52, of Kula.
- Gavin Petrie, 45, of Haiku.
- David Yokoyama, 24, of Kahului.
- Clyde Imai, 59, of Kihei.
- Cary Rosario, 42, of Waikapu.
- Thomas Borges, 52, of Kihei
We first came across this case today on poker forums TwoPlusTwo. A forum poster by the name of Melvin Y. created a new post titled “Maui home poker game raided”. Melvin Y. went on to post that he was at the home game when the raid took place. Melvin stated the group were not doing anything illegal and is seeking advice on the situation at hand. Melvin posted on TwoPlusTwo:
“Recently the home game I was playing in was greeted with a warm welcome instructions of “GET YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEAD” while large men with machine guns drawn stormed into the room. The vice had come and raided our game.
We were doing no illegal activities whatsoever. The game had no rake, no food/beverages being sold, not hosted in a business, and was competed on equal terms. Our game fell under the state of Hawaii law of “Social Gambling” 712-1231.
We were arrested, held in jail overnight, booked, charged with “gambling” and recently our names and pictures were featured all over the state of Hawaii like we are criminals. When trying to explain to the police that our game was legal, all we were met with is an insistence that our game was raked and was illegal.
All our the money on the table and in our pockets/bags were seized and is lost forever. The media coverage has basically portrayed us as criminals in the same class as any other murderer, drug lord, or any other criminal.
All of this over a case of guys getting together and playing a $1-$2 weekly home game. I am pleading with the poker community to please share some advice and help us!”
Many poker players have spoke out on the forums as to how lousy this situation is. Some suggested contacting the PPA and other outlets for help. Hopefully, the poker players will be able to clear their names as they seem to have been simply enjoying what many of us enjoy with friends and family, a simple home poker game.
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