German police officers are investigating what exactly a Berlin restaurant owner was doing with a deck of poker playing cards that were found to be marked with a dangerous radioactive substance.
On Tuesday this week, German police announced that they were doing a routine inspection at a waste treatment facility in Berlin. There they discovered playing cards dosed with iodine 125, a radioactive isotope which used in medical procedures.
Further investigation led them to an unidentified 41-year-old restaurant owner. Interestingly police said they found a total of 13 marked playing cards, all of which were “the same suit.”
The Berlin police also detected higher than usual radioactivity in the suspect’s restaurant, as well as in some adjacent facilities, including the Asian market, a karaoke bar and one flat.
Cleanup crews had been dispatched immediately to the scene and they reassured the public that the radioactivity levels didn’t pose a threat. The only risk was if person came into direct physical contact with the exposed areas or objects.
The cards were most likely tagged with the radioactive substance in order to allow card cheaters to identify the value of them through the use of a Geiger detector hidden in the fraud’s pocket.
In 2014, Vietnamese media reported a similar case. They arrested a man who scammed other gamblers through radioactive-marked cards that caused a sensor concealed up his sleeve to vibrate when specific cards were on the table. Chinese police caught a man who did the same markings to dice.