On Sunday, police in the town of Bavet in Cambodia’s Svay Rieng province arrested four staff members – one man and three women – of the New World Casino & Hotel in connection with the death of 42-year-old Ngueng Yang Yoeng, a Vietnamese national found dead in his hotel room at the casino.
According to police, the victim had crossed the border to gamble at the New World Casino, only to lose all his money. The four accused reportedly lent the victim more money, which he also lost at the casino’s gambling tables.
Unable to repay the loan, the victim was detained by the four accused and forced to contact relatives back home in the hope that they could deliver his ‘ransom’. When the relatives couldn’t raise the money in time, the four suspects reportedly “beat or tortured” the victim to death. A police officer told the Khmer Times that the victim’s corpse showed “spots and serious wounds around his throat and body.”
The four suspects are facing charges of kidnapping, detention, unlawful confinement under aggravating circumstances and (presumably, although unspecified) murder.
This is but the latest example in a long list of sad fates to befall Vietnamese gamblers in Cambodian casinos. Many of these gamblers fell prey to the same loan-and-ransom routine, with equally horrific results. Barred from entering the few casinos in their native land, Vietnamese gamblers’ only low-cost option is to visit the dozens of casinos that lie just across the border in Cambodia, where they might feel uneasy about contacting local authorities.
Recent years have seen Vietnamese authorities publicly muse about relaxing the restriction on locals in casinos, in part due to complaints about gamblers ending up in sticky situations in foreign lands. However, the government never seems to pull the trigger on the necessary legislation, meaning Mr. Young Duong’s sorry story will undoubtedly not be the last of its kind.