Cambodia Casino Subjects Eight Chinese Gamblers to Backroom Beatings

Posted on: April 10, 2019, 03:49h. 

Last updated on: April 10, 2019, 03:49h.

A casino in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, is accused of beating eight Chinese gamblers suspected by casino management of cheating.

Sihanoukville, a once sleepy seaside town, is being transformed into a Chinese gambling hub at an alarming rate and becoming the “Wild West” of casino gaming. (Image: Getty Images)

According to several reports in mainland Chinese and local Cambodian media, staff at the unnamed casino took the law into their own hands in the western Cambodian town, which has quickly grown into a Chinese casino hub in the space of just few years.

The eight gamblers — four men and four women — were reportedly separately called into a back room at the casino on April 3, where they were held for up to ten hours and savagely beaten. The gamblers were told they would only be allowed to leave to go to the hospital once they had signed a document admitting to fraud.

The eight gamblers had won amounts ranging from a few thousand dollars, to more than $20,000, according to reports.

Broken Fingers

One of the eight told Chinese media that he and his wife were in Cambodia on vacation and had taken the opportunity to play a few hands at the casino. Betting roughly $100 to $200 per hand, they had won around $1,000, when at about 4am the man’s wife was called into casino office on the second floor.

When she failed to reappear, he went to look for her and found her being physically assaulted by a group of men. They asked him who he was in Chinese and, when he replied he was the woman’s husband, he was too was detained and beaten.

Photographs published in the media this week showed what were purported to be the husband’s swollen hands and bruises to the back of his wife’s neck. Both were also reported to have injuries to their bodies, and one of the husband’s fingers was broken.

Police Present

The couple claimed that two police officers were present towards the end of their ordeal, but their presence appeared to persuade the men to alter the document to state the entire episode had been “a misunderstanding,” which they agreed to sign.

They couple also claimed they did not know the other six gamblers until they met them later in the hospital where they learned they had suffered the same fate.

Several members of casino staff have since been arrested and the couple have launched legal proceedings against the casino, local media said.

It was reported that in the weeks leading up to the beatings, security footage from the casino had been leaked showing a dealer colluding with gamblers in an apparent cheating ring, but it is not immediately clear how or if this is related to the April 3 incident.

Bad Beats: Do Casinos Still Rough Up Cheaters?

Sihanoukville is very much the Wild West of casino gaming – a once sleepy seaside town now booming with Chinese-owned casinos that are springing up faster than authorities can draw up regulations. The lack of rules appeals to organized crime and there are reports that the triads have moved in.

But the incident harks back to Mob-controlled Las Vegas, when “justice” was dispensed to cheaters by security in the casino basement.

In 1967, Nevada passed a law that made cheating illegal which removed the necessity for casinos to take the law into their own hands, although the practice may not have fully disappeared until the Mob was run out of town by the FBI in the 1980s.

These days, depending on the severity of the transgression, cheaters are more likely to be ejected from the casino, but they may very well be arrested and prosecuted for theft.