Thai National Found Dead at Poipet Casino

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Thai nationals who were trafficked to a Pursat province special economic zone are inspected by Thai and Cambodian authorities at the Poipet border on November 24, 2021. (Royal Thai Police)

A 19-year-old man was found dead Thursday at tycoon Kok An’s Poipet casino that has been the subject of warnings on Thai social media as allegedly housing scam operations.

Hundreds of Thai nationals have been repatriated from such operations across the country in recent months, with some saying they were trafficked, detained and forced to work. Photographs of Crown casino, which houses the Golden Crown and Genting Crown facilities, have circulated on Thai social media with warnings to avoid the buildings because of scam operations inside.

An, who is also a ruling-party senator, has also been linked to an alleged trafficking hub in Sihanoukville.

A police report issued by Nou Chivion, deputy Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief, said the Thai national had fallen from the 11th floor of a building at the Crown casino compound, and investigators had ruled that he died by suicide.

His roommates had testified that the 19-year-old had been acting strangely since Tuesday, according to the police report.

Poipet city police chief Sao Saroeun said surveillance footage had shown there were no suspicious circumstances.

Deputy Prom Piseth said he did not know what the man was doing in the compound.

“I don’t know, I don’t have that information, and I didn’t ask. … This was the first such case,” Piseth said, though he noted there had been a previous stabbing in the casino.

The Crown casino has also been the site of a bomb scare in 2019, according to local media reports, while Poipet city in November saw the rescue of 60 Thai nationals who were illegally detained, Piseth said.

“This was like a trafficking crime. … If they wanted to be released, they had to pay,” the police deputy said Friday about the repatriation of Thai nationals in November.

National Police in October also reported kidnappings of Cambodian victims in Phnom Penh who were then transported to Poipet.

Accounts of trafficking and enslavement have emerged from across the country at scam operations where forced workers are made to flirt online to trick people out of money.

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