A total of eight Bangladeshi nationals have been arrested in the Maldives June on charges of gambling. They were arrested during police raids and caught with large sums of money and card decks.
Four Bangladeshi men were arrested on June 30 at 6:15am in Malé with MVR21,000 (US$1362). Another four were arrested on June 9 from suburb Hulhumalé with MVR10,000 (US$649) and a card deck.
Gambling is prohibited in Islam. It is punishable with six months in jail or a MVR150 (US$10) fine under the 1968 penal code.
There are some 124,000 migrant workers in the Maldives. A significant majority are from Bangladesh.
In December, the police arrested a Maldivian man and a woman with empty alcohol bottles and a poker set. On the same day, the police arrested 18 Bangladeshi men on suspicion of gambling with an unspecified amount of money.
According to police statements, at least 17 Bangladeshi nationals were arrested in 2013 for gambling. Eight were arrested in southern Fuvahmulah, and another nine were arrested in Addu City.
The new penal code, due to come into force in July, does not criminalize gambling.