BY Erik Gibbs ON May 24, 2019
If you’re going to operate an illegal gambling house, the best advice is to try to fly as far below the radar as possible. Anything that can attract unwanted attention should be avoided if the business is to survive. One example of something that would most likely not need to be included in the operational scheme is dumping raw sewage onto the beach. That won’t exactly allow the business to hide from authorities and a Chinese casino in Cambodia operating without a license is learning that lesson the hard way.
Sihanoukville provincial authorities are ready to crank up the bulldozers and level a Chinese casino, the Jin Ding Hotel and Casino, that refuses to close. The venue is operating without a license since last April and has reportedly been polluting an adjacent beach on its home of Koh Rong Samloem Island. Residents have started to report the casino to authorities who don’t want the island to be a repeat of the Boracay Island fiasco in the Philippines.
The venue has already been ordered to shut down its operations several times, but the owner, Zhou Jianhua, won’t comply. Sihanoukville city officials are now reaching the end of their patience and a spokesperson, Kheang Phyrum, asserts, “We will forcefully demolish the casino and file a complaint to the court. The casino has operated without a license and there are no permits from local authorities. Those two reasons are enough.”
However, as much as authorities might want to have fun with the heavy machinery, things aren’t quite that easy. Getting the equipment to the island is logistically difficult, as it would require bringing in boats capable of carrying the forty-ton vehicles.
Sihanoukville is home to about 70 casinos and most of them have popped up in the past two years. Locals are concerned about the growth, especially given that, for the most part, they are excluded from the venues – for pleasure or for work. Since Cambodians cannot legally gamble, they’re not allowed inside the venues and the casinos, therefore, target Chinese gamblers on the other side of the border. As such, unless a Cambodian speaks Chinese, finding employment in one of the operations is difficult and the casinos bring in foreign, Chinese-language speakers to run the show.
Reports that the Chinese Triad may be looking to take over the city had some area residents a little nervous. However, an investigation by Chinese authorities into the threat revealed that it was nothing more than a hoax perpetrated by a group of drunks.