Hun Sen’s global moment tainted by labor clampdown

Casino worker strike suppression comes as Cambodian leader bids to put his best diplomatic foot forward as this year’s ASEAN chair.

For nearly two months, aggrieved Cambodian casino workers have protested almost daily in central Phnom Penh against mass layoffs implemented last year by the Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp, a business majority-owned by Malaysian billionaire Chen Lip Keong that runs Cambodia’s NagaWorld casino complex.

The protests represent a major test for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government, which is split between appealing to Cambodian voters ahead of bellwether local elections later this year and protecting the interests of one of the nation’s top foreign investors and taxpayers.

They also come as Hun Sen bids to downplay his authoritarianism and put his best diplomatic foot forward while Cambodia serves this year as the rotational chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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