Thais Demand Casino Water Duct Be Closed

The Golden Crown Casino in Poipet town was forced to fill a wa­ter duct system constructed along the Thai border Sunday af­ter de­mands by Thai military forces, Chhouk Ang, commander of RCAF Battalion 911, said Monday.

Thai military authorities met Cam­­bodian authorities Saturday and demanded that they destroy the system that diverted water from a river marking the Thai-Cam­bodia border in Poipet commune to the casino, Chhouk Ang said.

“Thai soldiers wanted us to de­stroy the drainage system immediately,” he said on Monday.

“We asked them to let us solve it in a few days, but they demanded again and again that we re­move it in one day,” Chhouk Ang said.

The two sides held a meeting Sun­­day morning and agreed to fill the drainage system with soil, ren­dering it unusable.

The Golden Crown Casino constructed the system so that workers at the hotel and gambling complex could have access to river wa­ter for washing and other needs. Ca­­­­sino workers have used water from wells in the past, but it has not been enough, Chhouk Ang said.

Prak Chandara, an immigration police officer at Poipet International checkpoint, said the dispute was settled peacefully and did not af­fect visitors from crossing the check­point.

Although Thai and Cambodian of­­ficials maintain that relations along the border are under control, recent flare-ups have marred re­­covery from last year’s anti-Thai riots in Phnom Penh.

A similar standoff occurred April 9 and 10 when Cambodian soldiers began constructing a fence on contested land along the border in Banteay Meanchey prov­ince.

The confrontation ended peacefully and the fence was destroyed after negotiations between officials from both sides.

Thailand and Cambodia have a long-standing agreement not to build, cut trees or change any part of the land in contested zones be­tween the two countries.

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