Posted on: August 1, 2022, 07:28h. 

Last updated on: August 1, 2022, 01:46h.

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 last Saturday adding to Cambodia’s difficulties.

Chinese nationals arrest
Police in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, arrest Chinese nationals. Chinese criminal gangs control a lot of activity in the city and may be linked to the murder of two people over the weekend. (Image: Cambodia News English)

Six people got into a heated discussion inside a hotel room of the casino, according to police. Things 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 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 and arrested the alleged suspects. 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.

Recent Crime

The incident took place at the Tong Fang Palirin Casino Saturday night, according to The Khmer Times. Media outlets report that all individuals – victims and attackers – are Chinese.

The casino owner is also reportedly from China. The area, Sihanoukville, has recently 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.

Recently, Cambodian cities like Sihanoukville have seen a surge in criminal incidences. Police have seen reports of illegal casinos and online gambling operators holding workers hostage. If they try to leave, they either have to pay a “ransom” or are physically coerced into staying.

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 that this would happen years ago, and the prediction is coming true.

Labor Scams

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.

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, call centers, and 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 illegally cross the border between Vietnam and Cambodia.