Prosecutor: Casino Detention Was Unlawful

Banteay Meanchey provincial court has dropped allegations of stealing against nine casino workers and instead accused their em­ployer of illegally detaining them, though no formal charges are pending.

The workers were in a group of 11 employees at Poipet’s Golden Crown Casino held for interrogation last month after $2.5 million went mis­sing.

Casino management said at the time it was hoping an investigation independent of local authorities would lead to the masterminds of a card-cheating scheme.

Detaining the workers for 11 days, Golden Crown management received more than $70,000 from the family of the accused staff before ending its questioning Tues­day and handing nine staff members into police custody. Two others were released as re­ward for cooperating with management.

Golden Crown’s complaint failed in court Thursday, however. Prosecutor Chet Khemara said Thursday the casino was the guilty party for holding the workers illegally under threat of torture.

“I released the workers al­ready, because they were not in­volved in a factual crime and it hap­pened long ago,” he said.

“The casino illegally detained the workers, and if the workers file a complaint against the casino, I will bring them to court to face charges,” Chet Khemara said.

He said the casino did not give enough food or water to the workers during their detention and had barred their relatives from visiting.

Despite the prosecutor’s comments, none of the workers are planning to bring charges against the casino, said Dieb Sivutha, whose NGO Cambodian Child­ren Development Organization for Protection of Human Rights has been monitoring the case.

“The workers do not want to cooperate and file a complaint with police against the casino, so I can not take it court,” said Dieb Sivutha, who has also accused Golden Crown of holding the workers illegally.

Soth Kosal, Golden Crown’s chief of human resources, said he had no qualms with the court’s de­cision.

Reports that the employees were subject to beatings and oth­er torture methods surfaced during their detention but were not substantiated.

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