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Chinese casino manager arrested for forced labour practices in Cambodia

The Chinese manager of a casino in Cambodia has been arrested and charged with forced labour practices.  

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It had earlier been reported that 42 Vietnamese nations fled the casino after being subjected to treatment befitting modern slavery.

General Keo Vannthan, the spokesperson of Cambodia’s Immigration Department, told local media that a team had been sent to the Golden Phoenix Entertainment Casino in the Kandal Province’s Koh Thom District, where it detained the manager for questioning. The manager’s identity has yet to be revealed.

Investigations of the manager came after escaped workers, who swam across the Binh Di River – the natural border between Vietnam and Cambodia – returned home to give testimony.

Tragically, one of the 42 workers – a 16-year-old boy – was swept away in the river while another was recaptured by casino guards. Of the 40 that successfully escaped, five were women and the rest were men.  

Successful escapees claimed they did not receive adequate pay, being promised $800 a month but only receiving between $400 and $500. They also claim they were not allowed breaks or any rest at work. 

Although the casino’s manager has admitted to “forcing the group to work against their will,” they also claim the escapees owe the company money.  

This is despite the fact none of the casino’s workers had a legitimate passport, let alone a visa to work in Cambodia.  

Director of An Giang police, Dinh Van Noi, said the victims revealed they were part of a programme that saw more than 2,000 Vietnamese citizens smuggled to Cambodia to work in casinos.

According to the Director, many workers are tricked into illegitimate employment in Cambodia with false pay packages, while being made to pay casinos up to $30,000 should they wish to return to Vietnam.  

In the first half of 2021, over 250 such workers have been rescued by Vietnamese and Cambodian authorities.  


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