4 held in Gwinnett gambling bust

Four people sitting around a restaurant table in a Gwinnett County shopping center denied they were gambling recently, even though officers said they watched as the group played cards and passed poker chips and cash back and forth in the wee hours of the morning.

The Duluth Police Department's Crime Suppression Unit said officers were inspecting bars at International Village on North Berkeley Lake Road on Aug. 18 when they noticed a closed restaurant with its lights on and people moving around inside.

According to a police report, officers watched through the window of the Shanghai Cafe for 10 minutes before knocking on the door and identifying themselves.

Officer Andrew Brandenburg, who wrote the report, said the dealer "swept all of the money off of the table and into her lap before wadding it up and giving it" to a man at the table. Another man then came to the door to let the officers in.

After a search, police said they found more than $3,500 in cash, including $2,267 the dealer had passed to one player, who had stuffed the cash in a pocket, officers said. Brandenburg also said police found a black ledger "with information pertaining to gambling with names and amounts owed or paid out." He did not say how many names were in the ledger.

The four suspects were arrested, charged with gambling and taken Gwinnett County jail. They were identified as Shihchun Simon Wang, 30, Dung Quoc Duong, 41, Phuoc Ba Nguyen, 41, and Joan Thuy Dang, 30, the alleged dealer.

In June, Gwinnett police said at least six women were arrested and charged in what appeared to be an all-female gambling ring in Duluth, WSB Radio reported. The raids at two houses on Michael Circle and Old Norcross Road led to the seizure of 10 slot machines and nearly $20,000 in cash.

The Shanghai Cafe, site of the Aug. 18 arrests, is a Vietnamese restaurant at the International Village, a sprawling complex with many Asian businesses.

A gambling conviction in Georgia could bring no less than one year or no more than five years in state prison, and a fine of up to $20,000.