Unpaid Cambodia casino workers swim home to Vietnam

PHOTO: Vietnamese workers flee Cambodia casino. (via Kampuchea Thmey)

In Cambodia, about 40 Vietnamese workers fled alleged slave labour conditions in a casino, swimming to freedom across the border. The staff fled the Golden Phoenix Entertainment Casino, located in the border province of Kandal in Cambodia, making a daring escape past security and through a river to reach freedom in Vietnam.

The few dozen Vietnamese employees said they were forced into unpaid work, tricked by the casino into working 14 hours per day without compensation, according to the Interior Minister of Cambodia.

“These people might have been here working illegally. They were promised salaries, but they did not get what they were promised. … They crossed back to Vietnam because they could not reach a deal. They fled the place.”

Five women and 35 men found freedom in Vietnam and were tested for Covid-19 on arrival. They described a harrowing ordeal and escape. One 20 year old described security guards hitting them with iron sticks and batons as they fled, after which they jumped into the Binh Di River, which is a sizable 70 metres across at its most narrow point. One worker was swept away by the currents during the swim and is still missing.

He also talked about the dismal working conditions the Vietnamese workers faces before their escape, saying that there were constant threats of beatings as they were forced to work long hours without proper compensation.

“Our four months being cheated while working at a casino in Cambodia were like hell. If I did not do it, I would be beaten to death.”

Police arrested one manager at the casino and have launched a full investigation into the occurrence, amid similar all-too-common incidents. Immigration checks across the country have been increased to try to thwart human trafficking groups that have increasingly targeted migrant workers in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, tricking them to come work in Cambodia under false pretences.

Some 250 Vietnamese workers have been rescued so far this year, and last month in Sihanoukville several dozen workers from Indonesia were freed after being duped in a scam operation, an incident brought up by the Foreign Minister of Indonesia on a recent visit to the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

World News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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