Falling Death at Senator’s Border Casino

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Crown casino in Bavet, Svay Rieng, on May 7, 2022. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen)

A Vietnamese man has died after falling from the eighth floor of a Bavet city casino owned by a ruling party senator, local authorities said.

Mao Phin Phearum, Bavet commune police chief, said the death happened on Wednesday at the Crown casino on the Vietnamese border.

“It was a Vietnamese man and he died from falling down from the eighth floor. We handed the body to the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh,” Phin Phearum said.

The police chief declined to comment about any other deaths at Crown. “Brother, it’s enough, and I’m busy now,” he said.

According to the Crown Resort website, the Bavet casino is part of the same group as Crown casinos in Poipet — on the Thai border on the opposite side of Cambodia. The Poipet casino is known to be owned by ruling party Senator Kok An, a businessman who also has ties to an alleged slave compound in Sihanoukville.

Local media outlet CEN reported the arrest of a Chinese man in September 2018 after he allegedly burned the hands of a man with boiling water at Crown Bavet. It also reported the death of a Chinese cook at the casino in December 2018 after his head smashed into a toilet. KMPN Asia said a Vietnamese man was arrested for stabbing a woman in September 2019. Another outlet, TNB, said a man died in a room in Crown in February 2020 from a heart attack. News website Tnaot said another Vietnamese man fell from Crown’s Building Q and died on April 28 this year.

A member of a local administration, who declined to be named, said, in a separate case, he had picked up a body from the Crown casino complex three or four months ago and sent it to the Vietnamese Embassy.

“Whenever there is any person who died in the companies or casinos, authorities go to check for me — I have participated in two cases,” the official said, adding that he did not know how many Vietnamese nationals lived in Crown.

Commune chief Sanh Sakhon declined to comment. Provincial police chief Koeng Khorn referred questions to the Bavet city police chief, but the city police station declined to give a phone number for the chief.

Bavet Kandal deputy village chief Chhun Oeun said he had also responded and went to check the body at the scene after the fall at Crown on Wednesday.

However, a man who picked up a phone number for Crown Bavet denied the fall happened. “There is no such case, brother,” the man said, declining to give his name.

The man also denied that anyone had tried to escape the compound or that there had been any previous deaths at Crown Bavet.


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