Gambling, game rooms still have strong hold in Honolulu

Local News

Gambling has long been outlawed in the islands, but that hasn’t stopped people from getting their fix.

Illegal game rooms are also hot spots for violence.

Police arrested a 28-year-old man for a deadly shooting at a game room off Kapiolani Boulevard.

On Saturday night, police say Manu Sorensen and another man were trying to rob the place when Sorensen shot someone inside.

The victim, identified as Jacob Feliciano, 31, of Waipahu, died at the hospital.

Just one week ago, police responded to a shooting at what they called a game room on Palama Street in Kalihi.

We’re told the suspect, Kilani Derego, 26, pulled out a gun and demanded money. 

As he was getting away, two men went after him and the gun went off three times. No one was hurt.

Derego was arrested at the scene.

He is also currently awaiting a retrial for the murder of a taxi cab driver back in 2012.

They’re just the latest in a string of incidents involving game rooms.

In 2016, a woman was shot and killed inside Cutie’s Cafe in Chinatown during a robbery. 

Police tell us it was being used as a game room.

Since then, community leaders say law enforcement has stepped up efforts to crack down on game rooms, especially in Chinatown.

“If we constantly raid them, constantly put them out of business, and we have stiff sentences, they go to jail. There are solutions to these social problems. We can get rid of them,” said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock.

Last month, a bill was introduced at Honolulu City Council that would require the prosecutor’s office or corporation counsel to take legal action against properties where illegal gambling and drug use occurred.

The bill was deferred.

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