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Former Gang Leader Allowed to Gamble in Atlantic City

19 January 2011 by admin

robin-cheeCan people really change? If someone shows themselves to be a thoroughly untrustworthy person, can they ever regain your trust? Such questions were brought to New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission today, as they had to decide whether to let a former gang leader into Atlantic City’s casinos. In the end, they said yes, believing that he had rehabilitated himself.

Earlier today, the Casino Control Commission upheld a previous preliminary ruling to remove Robin Chee from a list of people who are banned from casinos due to their criminal connections. The state bars anyone with ties to gangs or other organized crime from playing at its casinos. Chee, who always enjoyed gambling, can now enter any casino in the Garden State and play his favorite casino games for the first time since 1995.

Chee used to be one of the three top leaders of The Ghost Shadows, a Chinese street gang based in New York. As a leader of the gang, he was in charge of criminal activities that included extorting businesses, selling drugs, offering illegal gambling and more. In 1995, Chee was arrested, subsequently pleaded guilty to racketeering and was sentenced to ten years in prison. He got out early in 2003, but according to Chee, his time behind bars convinced him that he had wasted his life and he was determined to turn it around.

According to Chee, he came out of prison a changed man. He quickly found employment with a computer company in New York, where he was later promoted to a management position. He has since gotten married and has three children. Appearing before the Casino Control Commission, Chee pleaded his case that he was rehabilitated and provided reference letters from five people who vouched for him.

Chee’s probation officer said that he had “changed his life for the better.” The state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement was unable to find any evidence that Chee still had any ties to organized crime. All investigations, in fact, found the opposite: that Chee had severed all contact with the gang when he went to prison and had never initiated contact since then.

Commissioner Michael Epps seemed particularly moved by Chee’s dramatic turnaround from the leader of a violent gang to a responsible family man. He praised Chee as a “dependable, hardworking man” and stressed the importance of his desire to be a good husband and father. Since his release in 2003, Chee has been clean, never turning up on the police blotters.

In the end, the Commission decided that Chee had paid his debt to society and had rehabilitated himself. As such, he is now deserving of the privilege of entering Atlantic City’s casinos for the first time in 16 years.

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