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Vietnamese Worker Found Hanged in Cambodia Casino

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Posted on: June 14, 2022, 03:31h. 

Last updated on: June 14, 2022, 03:43h.

A Vietnamese casino worker was found hanged on his second day on the job at a casino in Bavet, Cambodia, according to local police.

Bavet, Cambodia
The entrance to Bavet, Cambodia via the Vietnam checkpoint. There have been several mysterious deaths in the casino town. Could they be linked to labor abuses? (Image: Flickr)

Cambodian news outlet VOD reports that 28-year-old Tran Van Ban is believed to have died by suicide Friday at the Heng He Casino. It is located in the Bavet special economic zone (SEZ), close to the border with Vietnam.

City police chief Em Sovannarith said the man had been showing signs of “mental instability.” He couldn’t tell reporters the nature of Ban’s employment at the casino.

Bavet commune police deputy Puthea Nuthseth admitted that police had no access to Heng He.

“This location, I have never entered there because it is very difficult to go in and out,” Nuthseth said, as translated by VOD.

We don’t know how many people live inside there, and they have never been friendly with us,” added Deputy commune chief Kao Saran.

There have been frequent reports coming out of Cambodia about workers being held against their will in casino towns like Bavet and Sihanoukville. There, they are allegedly forced to work in squalid conditions, often by Chinese criminal gangs.

Sovannarith said 22 Indonesian nationals had been rescued this month from their workplaces around Bavet.

Casino Link to Ruling Family

Among the owners of the Heng He casino is Chen Al Len, a business crony of Hun To, the nephew of Hun Sen, Cambodia’s authoritarian head of state.

In 2012, The Sydney Morning Herald claimed Australian police suspected Hun To of being involved in a heroin trafficking and money laundering syndicate targeting Australia.

Chen is also director of a compound in Sihanoukville called Kaibo, which has been accused of orchestrating scam operations that use forced labor.

The Crown is owned by Kok An, a senator for Cambodia’s ruling (and only) political party,

Kok An also owns a scam factory in Sihanoukville that has been accused of practicing detention, debt slavery, and beatings.

Mysterious Deaths

There have been several mysterious deaths at the Crown in the past few years. Among these, in September 2018, local media outlet CEN reported that a Chinese cook at the casino was killed after his head was smashed in on a toilet.

An anonymous local government official told VOD he picked up a body from the Crown Casino three or four months ago and sent it to the Vietnamese embassy.

“Whenever there is any person who died in the companies or casinos, authorities go to check for me — I have participated in two cases,” the source said.

He added that he did not know how many Vietnamese nationals lived in Crown.

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