A senior Cambodian police official reportedly said on Tuesday that any person or entity that defied the just-imposed ban regarding online gambling services being based in that country would be labelled “gangsters” and dealt with accordingly.
“The National Police chief had made it clear that any individual or group who defies the order is to be considered as gangsters,” said Chhay Kim Khoeun, spokesman for the force, as quoted by the Phnom Penh newspaper on Tuesday.
The previous week, Sieng Sen, director of the National Police’s anti-gambling department, reportedly told the news outlet that on December 24 the unit had held a meeting with the local government in Preah Sihanouk province – where the coastal city of Sihanhoukville is located – instructing “all casino operators to abide by the circular” banning online operations.
In early September is was reported that a large number of Chinese nationals had left Sihanoukville, a city where online gambling operations had reportedly proliferated in a short period of time. The departures coincided with the decision of the Cambodian government not to issue any more online gambling licences for operators based in Cambodia, and not to renew existing ones when they expired.
The online ban – announced in August, with effect from day-end on December 31 – was widely reported at the time as being in response to China’s concerns that a large number of online gaming operations based in Cambodia was targeting Chinese citizens in China.
The Cambodian and Chinese governments have been building ties in relation to China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, and Chinese investment in that Southeast Asian nation has also been expanding, according to multiple media outlets.
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