The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

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The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

Long read: A thoughtful article from Leonie Kijewski for the SCMP magazine. Well worth the read, to learn how the Sihanoukville mishap is playing out at the present time. Change in Sihanoukville has been abrupt and disruptive for everyone, locals and Chinese, especially the small people such as the construction workers, as the city has gone from boom to bust overnight.

Sihanoukville, Cambodian magnet for Chinese casinos, loses its pull, leaving thousands owed money and unable to move on
Cambodia

Thousands of Chinese construction workers left unpaid and stranded as work on half-built Chinese casinos comes to a halt following August ban on online gambling
A federation of Chinese businesses has been created to help those affected by the fallout, but there is only so much it can do

Leonie Kijewski
Published: 10:15am, 20 Feb, 2020

After passing through loose security at the entrance of WM Casino, in neon-flashing downtown Sihanoukville, the floor opens onto a dozen or so smiling women in tight black dresses, at Vegas-style, green-felt gaming tables. They deal cards in view of webcams, while on a nearby monitor, online avatars of remote gamblers appear to be placing bets.

Towards the back of the casino, a floor manager overseeing the opera­tions from a glass-walled room emerges and quickly denies they are providing online gambling for players outside the casino.

“We absolutely don’t do any online gambling,” he insists, saying the system on view is a closed circuit, meant to serve players at other locations in the casino.

Why any gambler in the vicinity wouldn’t play at the table is unclear. Further inquiry only leads the man, smiling politely, to say: “We don’t have to explain things to you. If you stay longer, I’ll call the police.”

That may be his right, but if his “closed circuit” story is as disingenuous as it sounds, and what looks like remote online gambling is, in fact, remote online gambling, the manager would have other legal worries.
An ostensible move to curb money laundering, Cambodia’s govern­ment announced a ban on online gambling
on August 18 last year, to be enforced as of this past January 1. Intended or not, paroxysms shot through an industry that, compared with the world’s other gambling destinations, had just started to flex. According to local media, the Cambodian government issued 163 casino licences over the past year, and a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report published in July shows 150 of the 230 licensed casinos in Southeast Asia are in Cambodia. But that doesn’t mean they are Cambodian assets.

Chen An, a Chinese businessman who came from his native Shenzhen in 2016, first made his money in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, before moving to Sihanoukville last year. He is the executive chairman of the Chinese Association of Business Federation of Sihanoukville.
Unlike the heavily controlled markets in China, Cambodia’s economy functioned largely in US dollars and with lax regulations, and Chen quickly saw potential for investment. Chinese investors wanting to keep assets in a globally tradeable currency could easily do so in the tiny Khmer kingdom. Chen says it has been “easy to make money in Southeast Asia. [We businessmen] wondered if we were doing some­thing wrong in our investments in China, then learned we have to pay attention to new and emerging markets”.

Named after a former king, Sihanoukville’s once lawless, backpacker-friendly reputation has been upended in recent years, after Chinese President Xi Jinping found Cambodia’s Prime Minister HE an eager investee in his Belt and Road Initiative, a geopolitical trade route that would make use of the Khmer kingdom’s only deep-water port.

Sihanoukville’s untapped adjacent opportunities did not go unnoticed, and private Chinese investors flocked to the city to build hotels and casinos. These would, among others, accommodate Chinese customers – both those who may have arrived in the city as Belt and Road workers and tourists not allowed to gamble back home. (Gambling is also illegal in Cambodia, but only for its own citizens.)

But now, because of the ban, thousands of the Chinese who came to Cambodia and made their money in gambling have left. After years of Chinese investment pouring into developing countries, Sihanoukville has become an unfortunate example of what happens when that money pulls out. Almost 30 casinos in Sihanoukville have closed or suspended employment of all staff except security guards, and another 33 have temporarily suspended staff, a labour ministry official told local media outlets.

Multiple videos uploaded to YouTube show online gamb­­ling continuing at WM Casino even after the ban was imple­mented on January 1. With powerful backers, it seems, WM Casino is well-placed to carry on its online gambling business. Parent company Lixin Group is closely affiliated with HE’s nephew, Hun To, and its subsi­diary, Lixin Development, lists Hun To as a director. The political scion has been embroiled in a series of contro­versies before, including alleged involvement in a shooting incident in Phnom Penh and being accused of drug smuggling and money laundering.

WM is not the only casino openly defying the online gambling ban. A few hundred metres down the torn-up, dusty road, under construction with open sewage canals flanking its sides, GoBo East Casino also appeals to the rich: luxury cars are parked in front of its golden-lit entrance with high ceilings and an opulent water fountain.
Full article: https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-mag ... se-casinos
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Duncan
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Re: The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

Post by Duncan »

https://www.scmp.com


That's an interesting read. So it looks like all those CCTV cameras focused on the gambling tables are only for security purposes, so people all around the world can see nothing illegal is going on.
Cambodia,,,, Don't fall in love with her.
Like the spoilt child she is, she will not be happy till she destroys herself from within and breaks your heart.
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Re: The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

Post by j57 »

I just want to say....I miss the corner bar and mellow nights at the beach years ago.
But, I want to thank my greedy landlord whose contract was worthless who kicked me out with 7 months left in January 2018..
I am so glad to be in Siem Reap enjoying my swimming pool and no bullshit ....
The entire coast is going to be devastated and altered to the whims of the few.
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Re: The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

Post by Jerry Atrick »

Duncan wrote: Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:21 am https://www.scmp.com


That's an interesting read. So it looks like all those CCTV cameras focused on the gambling tables are only for security purposes, so people all around the world can see nothing illegal is going on.
It's hardly that interesting. Shock and horror!! A casino has a lot of CCTV cameras!! Definite evidence of ongoing online gaming inferred by ex VOA, PP Post and Guardian totally unbiased stalwart of the news!!
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Re: The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

Post by johnny lightning »

If you are so sure he is full of shit why don't you go down there and report back to us first hand? Love to hear your completely unbiased assessment of things.
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Re: The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

Post by Jerry Atrick »

So, I just read Duncan's comment about CCTV cameras. But yeah, I see that the girl who wrote the article claims there's still actual webcam dealer games taking place. I can drop in and see if I witness that myself.

Might be down next month, which will be third time over the past 24.

I'm seeing some better looking pics and reports lately, compared to 12 months ago.

Seems mainly the unfinished drainage systems that are the biggest issue there now,
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Re: The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

Post by AndyKK »

It was not long ago that I was reading here that Sihanoukville would not go from boom to bust, like other world places.
Always "hope" but never "expect".
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Duncan
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Re: The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

Post by Duncan »

Dreams are free.


Cambodia,,,, Don't fall in love with her.
Like the spoilt child she is, she will not be happy till she destroys herself from within and breaks your heart.
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Re: The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

Post by clutchcargo »

Duncan wrote: Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:36 pm Dreams are free.


Yuk! They should nuke the place and start again with tasteful planning..
Spoiler:
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Re: The Ruins of Sihanoukville 2020

Post by fazur »

clutchcargo wrote: Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:16 pm Yuk! They should nuke the place and start again with tasteful planning..
funny.
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