The Chinese manager of a Cambodian casino has been arrested and charged with forced labor.
It was previously reported that 42 Vietnamese nationalities fled the casino after being subjected to treatment akin to modern slavery.
General Keo Vannthan, the Immigration Department’s spokesperson, told local media that a team was sent to the Golden Phoenix Entertainment Casino in Kandal Province’s Koh Thom District and detained the manager for questioning.
The identity of the manager has yet to be revealed.
The manager was investigated after escaped workers who swam across the Binh Di River – the natural border between Vietnam and Cambodia – returned home to testify.
One of the 42 workers, a 16-year-old boy, was tragically swept away in the river, while another was apprehended by casino guards. Five of the 40 people who successfully escaped were women, while the rest were men.
Successful escapees claimed that they were promised $800 per month but only received between $400 and $500. They also claim that they were not permitted to take breaks or rest at work.
Despite the fact that the casino’s manager admitted to “forcing the group to work against their will,” the company claims the escapees owe it money.
This despite the fact that none of the casino’s employees had a valid passport, let alone a visa to work in Cambodia.
Dinh Van Noi, director of An Giang police, said the victims revealed they were part of a program that saw over 2,000 Vietnamese citizens smuggled to Cambodia to work in casinos.
According to the Director, many workers are duped into illegitimate employment in Cambodia with false pay packages, and are forced to pay casinos up to $30,000 to return to Vietnam.
Over 250 such workers were rescued by Vietnamese and Cambodian authorities in the first half of 2021.