Ros Saram, deputy prosecutor in Ratanakkiri province, said yesterday that he intended as soon as possible to investigate a complaint about an unlicensed casino that has allegedly been operating near the Vietnam border since earlier this month.
The human rights group Adhoc on Friday filed a three-page complaint asking the provincial court to stop the gambling in the alleged casino, claiming to have uncovered evidence that Cambodian and Vietnamese nationals were gambling in a building in O’Yadaw district’s Pakhnai commune, about 500 meters from the O’Yadaw border crossing.
Ms Saram said that he planned to investigate but had not yet begun because the complaint had only been lodged on Friday.
“I’ve just finished reading the report, but I can’t take action today and tomorrow because I am busy with a number of the court’s hearings,” he said. “But I will open an investigation as soon as possible.”
Mr Saram added that he would contact all parties involved to determine if the casino was indeed operating illegally.
“I do not know yet if the alleged gambling operation is true or not,” he said. “So I cannot elaborate.”
“If there are such gambling operations, I need to study their paperwork first before we can decide to close the casino down,” he added.
District governor Dak Sar claimed on Friday that local firm AHS King Group Co Ltd had received an order from the Council of Ministers on Sept 22 to allow it to build entertainment venues, markets and restaurants in the border area.
Judge Lou Sou Sambath, president of the provincial court, said he had heard that the alleged illegal casino was still operating as of yesterday but declined to elaborate, saying a prosecutor was looking into Adhoc’s complaint.
Adhoc’s provincial coordinator Pen Bonnar said yesterday that his organization had “contacted local villagers who passed by the area, and the gambling operation is still active.”
“We are really appreciative that the court is working on this, although the field investigation has yet to start,” he added.