Cambodia has recently been named in a list of US sanctions, targeting high-government officials and arguing that the country is not a safe harbor for business, especially in the gambling sector. Citing offshore gambling, drugs, and human trafficking, and more, several institutions have issued their concerns publicly.
However, Cambodia is determined to clean up its act, starting with a clampdown on 79 illegal websites that have been offering offshore online gambling services to residents.
In a statement put forward by the Telecommunications Regulator, the watchdog argues that it has worked with the National Police General Commission of the Ministry of Interior to restrict access to non-compliant websites.
The banned websites are directly related to public order and safety, the communique by the regulator explains. Cambodia has outlawed online gambling since 2019, and not least because of overseas interference by China, which has been pursuing its interests in countries in the region.
Pressure from Overseas Partners Works
The regulator further explained that it had to act as foreign entities had used the websites to cheat victims both inside and outside of the Kingdom of Cambodia, prompting authorities to act. Cambodia’s name has surfaced on several occasions over the last months.
The country has been often cited in relation to human trafficking, often happening under the very nose of authorities. One case detailed by Radio Free Asia argues that Chinese nationals were invited to work under a false pretext.
Upon arriving at a casino in Sihanoukville, they were told they would work for a fraction of their promised remuneration, and when they tried to leave, they were held by the people running the illegal gambling operations and were effectively the victims of human trafficking today.
Meanwhile, Cambodia and China have worked together to ensure that they continue to crack down on operations that target victims through illegal gambling operations. A joint operation in September by the countries led to the arrest of 200 suspects involved in various illegal activities, including gambling.