• Kyodo

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Six Yamaguchi Prefectural Police officers are suspected of gambling inside the Shimonoseki Police Station on and off for a period of roughly 30 months from June 1997, police said Friday.

Papers on the case involving the officers — an assistant inspector, two sergeants and three senior officers — were sent to prosecutors the same day.

The prefectural force said the six gambled with dice several times a week in the locker room and other areas of the police station during their off-duty hours.

The officers gambled on a six-dice game and placed bets ranging from 500 yen to 1,500 yen per person on every roll. The officers involved have told investigators that the winner would return the total amount won through such means as buying boxed lunches for the group with the winnings.

They were quoted as saying they believed the act was purely a pastime and they had no idea that what they were doing constituted gambling.

The prefectural police supervisory office said it was deeply regrettable that officers were involved in such conduct inside a police station and vowed to make efforts to prevent a recurrence.

Prefectural police officials said they would decide on the form of reprimand for the six after prosecutors have acted on the case.

The gambling came to light after the prefectural force received an anonymous tip-off and subsequently carried out an in-house investigation.