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Cambodian Casino Threatens to Lay Off Thai Workers

5 January 2004

BANGKOK, Thailand – As reported by the Straits Times: "Casinos in the Cambodian border town of Poi Pet have threatened to lay off more than 3,000 Thai workers if Bangkok does not ease up on its strict controls on Thais crossing the border to gamble.

"The controls, which include stringent documentation and currency checks, have created long queues and spawned an 80 per cent drop in visitor volumes at the nine casinos in the border town opposite the Thai town of Sa Kaeow in Aranya Prathet district.

"…The casinos are a source of irritation for Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who has floated the idea of legalising casinos to rev up the entertainment industry and keep big-spending Thais at home.

"…Before the holidays, Mr Thaksin had threatened to sack and cancel the pensions of government officials who were found crossing the border to gamble.

"…Statistics show that 3,000 to 4,000 Thai gamblers cross the border into Poi Pet a day on public holidays. The number rises to 5,000 per day during the New Year period.

"…The state-owned Thai News Agency quoted a person identified as Mr Peter - a Malaysian national and owner of a casino - as saying that nearly all of his Thai workers were late for work.

"While expressing sympathy, he said casino owners were thinking of firing all Thai workers and hiring Cambodians instead…"

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