It’s been several months since many gaming arcades closed across Oahu following a crackdown by police and the prosecutor’s office.
Tuesday afternoon, police raided a game room in Kalihi, where they say illegal gambling was taking place.
People who live and work nearby said they’ve called police numerous times to complain about the game room, and they’re happy that police responded on Tuesday afternoon in force.
KHON2 News was the only media present as police brought out the gaming machines — eight machines in all.
The game room is just one of the ground-floor tenants in a non-descript building on N. King Street, located between Richie’s Drive-Inn and Salem Media.
People who work and live in the area say it actually opened as “Island Fun Arcade” at the end of last year, and even had a name banner and a storefront.
“I peeked my head in once. There were a few games, some games in the front and some games in the back, but you couldn’t see those rooms,” Kalihi resident Cody Kala said.
But then a few months ago, residents say police came in, a chain and lock went up on the front door, and the place shut down — but not for long.
“Literally the next day the cameras went up right there. They must’ve put up eight cameras around the building,” said Connie Florez, who lives on the second floor in the same building.
Then shortly after that, Florez says people started coming in through the back.
“It’s kind of Chicago-style with the buzzer in the back and they drilled a hole,” Florez said. “It was out of hand before hand, but it’s like it got worse, more underground.”
“You’d see a lot of undesirable people hanging around,” said Bulla Eastman, an on-air personality at Salem Media.
He added: “In the mornings when I come here at 4:30 in the morning, there’s no reason that this parking lot should be full of cars but they are and there’s a lot of activity there.”
“It kind of sucked the life out of the people around here,” Florez said.
Both Florez and Eastman, and many others in the neighborhood told KHON2 they’re happy that police raided the game room.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Eastman said.
“We’re all smiling,” Florez said.
And they’re just hoping this is the end of it for good.
Police are still building their case and so far did not arrest anyone in connection with the raid.