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Cambodian casino accused of beating patrons

Fri, Apr 12, 9:55am by Staff Writer

A Cambodian casino is accused of beating eight Chinese gamblers suspected by casino management of cheating.

Casino.org reported that media in mainland China and local Cambodian media are reporting that staff at the unnamed casino took the law into their own hands in the western Cambodian town, which has quickly grown into a Chinese casino hub in the space of just a few years.

The eight gamblers – four men and four women – were reportedly separately called into a back room at the casino on April 3, where they were held for up to ten hours and savagely beaten.

The gamblers were told they would only be allowed to leave to go to the hospital once they had signed a document admitting to fraud.

The right gamblers had won amounts ranging from a few thousand dollars to more than $20,000 according to reports.

Husband and wife caught up

One of the eight told Chinese media that he and his wife were in Cambodia on vacation and had taken the opportunity to play a few hands at the casino.

Betting roughly $100 to $200 per hand, they had won $1000 when at about 4am, the man’s wife was called into a casino office on the second floor.

When she failed to reappear, he went to look for her and found her being physically assaulted by a group of men.

They asked him who he was in Chinese and when he replied, he was the woman’s husband, he too was detained and beaten.

Photographers published in the media this week showed what were purported to be the husband’s swollen hands and bruises to the back of his wife’s neck.

Both were also reported to have injuries to their bodies and one of the husband’s fingers was broken.

The couple claimed that two police officers were present towards the end of their ordeal, but their presence appeared to persuade the men to alter the document o state the entire episode had been “a misunderstanding” which they agreed to sign.

The couple also claimed they did not know the other six gamblers until they met them later in the hospital where they learned they had suffered the same fate.

Several members of casino staff have since been arrested and the couple have launched legal proceedings against the casino.

In the lead up to the beatings, leaked security footage showed a dealer colluding with gamblers in an apparent cheating ring, but it is not clear how or if this is related to this April 3 incident.

Cambodia’s gambling rise

Sihanoukville is very much the wild west of casino gaming.

A once sleepy seaside town is now booming with Chinese-owned casinos that are springing up faster than authorities can draw up regulations.

The lack of rules appeals to organised crime and there are reports that triads have moved in.

Cambodia is fast becoming a hot spot of gambling in Australia, with the beach town of Sihanoukville one of a number of towns that are luring wealthy Chinese gamblers.

This coastal capital of Preah Sihanouk province – named after Cambodia’s revered late king – was once a sleepy fishing community before being claimed first by Western backpackers, and then wealthy Russians.

Today it is Chinese investment that is transforming the province into a gambling playground for mainland tourists.

“Some gamblers lose hundreds of dollars in less than 20 minutes,” an employee from a casino told Business News.

Casinos are banned in China, although the gambling mecca of Macau, once dubbed the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’ has special laws allowing a massive gambling trade.

Sihanoukville is becoming a popular alternative, with nearly 50 Chinese-owned casinos and dozens of hotel complexes under construction.

30 per cent of Sihanoukville’s population is now Chinese according to the provincial governor, with population swelling during the past two years.

The Chinese government has invested big time in Cambodia, with the once-impoverished southeast Asian country having billions of dollars flow into its economy.

Preah Sihanouk’s governor said $1 billion has been invested by Chinese government and private businesses into the region between 2016 and 2018.


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