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Remaining Laptops and Cell Phones Seized in Online Gambling Turned Over to the Government

Koror, Palau — The OSP received 44 laptops and 70 phones back from US agencies following assistance from the agencies in clearing data from the laptops and phones so they could be put to good used in Palau. This is the last of the equipment seized in the online unlicensed gambling operation from the Harvest Hotel, which resulted earlier in 57 defendants being charged, found guilty, and sentenced on working without permits and promoting online gambling. All defendants left the Republic under a negotiated agreement. The laptops and phones were among the items voluntarily forfeited to the Republic of Palau.

From this second grouping, some of the cleared laptops and phones were distributed to several government agencies upon request with approval of the President’s Office including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Environment, Foreign Investment Board, Office of the National Security Advisor, Office of the Public Auditor, and the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Of the 44 laptops, 3 were previously damaged beyond repair, 2 need batteries installed, and 19 were distributed. Of the 82 phones, 13 did not work, and 7 were distributed. The remaining laptops and phones are with the Office of the President to be distributed upon request.

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor once said, “(w)e don’t accomplish anything in this life alone…and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.” The OSP did not accomplish convictions in any of our cases, including the Harvest Hotel cases, by ourselves but with the assistance and cooperation of other agencies, individuals, and the public. Therefore, we wish to thank everyone who helped bring these cases to a successful ending for the benefit of Palau.