A casino in Myanmar located close to the country’s border with the Chinese province of Yunnan was reportedly attacked over the weekend by rebels from an ethnic group opposed to Myanamar’s central government.
The rebels also attacked security force posts, according to reports from international media. A total of 19 people was killed during the attack, including four members of the security forces.
The assault reportedly took place on Saturday morning in the border town of Muse in northern Shan state. Around 100 insurgents were involved in the action, Reuters reported quoting a Myanmar government spokesman.
The spokesperson said the attack was eventually repelled by armed police and members of a government-backed militia he called “paramilitaries”.
The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) – made up of fighters from the Ta’ang or Palaung ethnic group – claimed responsibility for the attack. The group is fighting for greater autonomy for ethnic minorities in the area.
TNLA spokesman Colonel Tar Aik Kyaw told Reuters the attack targeted soldiers and the militiamen who were reportedly running the casino.
“The militia are protecting the casinos – those casinos are the gateway for distributing drugs. Many civilians they go to the casinos and it causes many social problems, so we launched a major assault,” the TNLA representative said, quoted by the news agency.
The international media reports did not disclose the name of the casino allegedly attacked. It is unclear from those reports what was the impact of the attack on the casino operations and on the building housing the gaming venue.
Casino gambling is officially not authorised in Mayanmar. But there are several reports of casino venues located in border areas with China, reportedly run by militia and other organised groups.
Last month, an official of Myanmar’s Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development said the government was revising the Gambling Law, after which casino operations would be allowed in the country.
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Analyst at Roth Capital Partners