The past few years have brought an increase in foreign influence in Cambodia, often with disastrous results. In particular, the city of Sihanoukville has become the “Wild West,” with the murder of two people at a casino adding to Cambodia’s difficulties.
The incident took place at the Tong Fang Palirin Casino Saturday night, according to The Khmer Times. Details are a little sketchy, but the media outlet reports that all of the individuals – victims and attackers – are Chinese.
The casino is Chinese, as well. Its owner is reportedly from China, with Sihanoukville having become a hotbed for Chinese organized criminal gangs looking to escape trouble in their home country. Based on what media outlets have gathered, around 90% of the businesses in the city belong to Chinese nationals.
Dispute Leads to Wild West Solution
From what police have determined, six people got into a heated discussion inside a hotel room of the casino. Then, everything turned chaotic when two individuals pulled out guns and began shooting. When the smoke cleared, two men were dead, and another was injured.
The shooters fled the scene, but not for long. Soon after the incident occurred, police arrived and began taking statements and reviewing surveillance camera footage. They identified the criminals, and the manhunt was on.
About five hours later, police caught up with them. They arrested both men, as well as a female that accompanied them during the altercation. Although only two pulled the triggers, all three face murder charges. Police have not explained what the group had been discussing or what caused the gathering to get out of hand.
Sihanoukville Attracts Crime
There have been a number of incidents in Cambodian cities like Sihanoukville that have put the country in a bad light. In particular, legal and illegal casinos routinely find themselves in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Reports of illegal casinos and online gambling operators holding workers hostage as slaves are commonplace. If they try to leave, they either have to pay a “ransom” or are physically coerced into staying.
Every now and then, there are also deaths that arise from questionable circumstances. For example, in March, a foreign worker died after falling 11 stories from the Crown Casino complex in Poipet. Just over a week ago, another foreigner fell 25 stories from a casino in Sihanoukville.
Police in Vietnam recently uncovered additional evidence that Chinese gangs are in control of many illegal commercial operations in Cambodia. A Chinese triad warned years ago that this was going to happen, and the prediction is coming true.
The police recently confirmed that Chinese criminals in Cambodia are targeting Vietnam in their search for slave labor. With the help of Vietnamese counterparts, they prey on workers, luring them in with false promises of high-paying positions.
This has been going on for years, but has received more attention recently. In the latest scam, police confirmed that the individuals work 12-16 hours a day, cannot leave their workplaces and have virtually no contact with the outside world.
They work in illegal online gambling operations, illegal call centers and other underground activities. If they don’t perform to the satisfaction of their superiors, they are tortured or sold to other operations.
So far this year, at least 250 people have fallen victim to the scam. However, the number could be much higher since many cross the border between Vietnam and Cambodia illegally.
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