Chinese Nationals Leave Cambodia Following Online Gaming Ban

It has been reported that tens of thousands of Chinese nationals have left Cambodia  following a public ban on on online gambling aimed at reducing the amount of offences committed by foreigners in the Kingdom.

Prime Minister Hun Sen released a directive on August 18 prohibiting all online gambling and arcade gambling in the Kingdom in an effort to protect public order and safety.

Hun Sen observed that some certified internet gambling activities were rigging their matches and threatening those who could not repay their gambling debt.

“Some foreigners have used this form of gambling to cheat victims inside and outside the country,” Hun Sen was quoted as saying “The Royal Government has decided to stop issuing licenses for such operations within and from outside the Kingdom with immediate effect.”

According to Brig Gen Ath Bony, deputy director of the General Administrative Department at the General Department of Immigration, they have seen more Chinese nationals leaving in comparison to arriving since the ban was enforced last month.

From Aug 18 to Sept 7, about 140,000 Chinese national departures were registered, whilst  during the same period there were a  reported 130,000 Chinese domestic arrivals.

“Since the government banned online gambling, there are more Chinese [nationals] leaving the Kingdom than coming,” he said. “It does not mean all of them are going to leave.

However, he observed that there is still an increase in the amount of those leaving the kingdom.

“Normally, the number of Chinese people leaving and coming remain stable,” Brig Gen Bony said. “Before, there were more arrivals than departures.”

Gen Keo Vanthan, General Department of Immigration spokesperson, said on Monday that between 18 and 31 August 32,300 Chinese nationals arrived at Sihanoukville in Preah Sihanouk.

“I think the government measure to ban online gambling will help to reduce the number of crimes because some Chinese nationals get involved in crimes such as kidnapping and extorting money,” Gen Vanthan said. “By banning online gambling, we improve our security.”