Mon, 05 Dec 2022

Phnom Penh [Cambodia], December 20 (ANI): Online gambling industry aided by illicit Chinese capital network thrives in Cambodia creating law and order problem.

Gangs have escaped or been rescued from what are in effect scam sweatshops. The gangs that run them enslave people who are lured from China, and increasingly other countries, with promises of high-paying jobs. Upon arrival, they are forced, under threat of violence, to defraud people online, according to Nikkei Asia.

Cambodia has a persistent problem of criminality and the law enforcement is weak and plagued by endemic official corruption, according to reports.

Earlier, China Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi has called for action on the issue.

During a September visit this year to Phnom Penh, where China operates a joint law enforcement office, Wang called for Cambodia to help eliminate online gambling.

However, in the coastal province of Preah Sihanouk, where a massive influx of Chinese-owned casinos and online gambling companies led to rapid, uncontrolled development has been a hotbed of internet scam operations that detain workers, according to Nikkei Aisa.

Further, Cambodia consistently ranks near the bottom of Transparency International's corruption perception index. The European Union last year listed it among 12 "high-risk" countries for money laundering.

Most recently, US November this year warned investors about operating in Cambodia due to exposure to corruption, criminal activities, illicit finance, and human rights abuses.

Jason Tower, the Myanmar country director for the United States Institute of Peace, said criminals from China and crime groups from the China-Myanmar border have become "deeply embedded" in Cambodia's economy.

"These illicit Chinese capital networks now represent a significant flow of income to Cambodia elites, and the money laundered through their operations is a major source of capital for the regime," said Tower, who has studied online scam companies operating in the region.

"As a result, it is unlikely that the Cambodian government will have the political will to crack down on some of the more significant players." (ANI)

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