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Border casino ‘on disputed territory’

Mar 30. 2017
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By The Nation

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DUE TO intense opposition from local residents and pressure from authorities, anti-corruption activist Veera Somkwamkid was forced on Wednesday to abandon his plan to inspect a casino being built at Buri Ram’s border with Cambodia.

He wanted to prove that the casino, billed as Cambodia’s largest and most modern, was being built on disputed land.

The casino, which is more than 80-per-cent complete and is scheduled to open early next month, is located near the Thai border, with disputed claims that it encroaches on Thai territory.

The Second Army Area, which has jurisdiction over the border province, previously maintained that the casino was being built on the Cambodian side of the border and that the military would not allow any encroachment on Thai soil in the interests of national sovereignty. Despite the assurance, people have raised concerns.

Archaeologist Veeraphan Wilaiphan, who inspected the casino construction site, said the location was clearly within an area claimed by both countries.

The casino is located less than 100 metres from the “free zone” border point, which was agreed by both countries, while a market on the Thai side is located about 300 metres away.

According to local sources, the casino belongs to a Cambodian businessman. However, critics have said that judging by the casino’s location very close to the border, it must have got help from “people with influence” on the Thai side to get the green light.

Traders and villagers who protested against Veera’s planned inspection of the casino site said they were concerned the visit might result in further delay of a plan to upgrade the local border-trade checkpoint at Chong Sai Taku.

 

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