More tantalising snippets have reached IAG re: the fallout from the great Phnom Penh slot club market implosion
It seems a couple of Russian entrepreneurs were left mightily disappointed after the Cambodian capital’s slot clubs were placed under lock and key by the government in a crack down on gambling by locals.
Overnight they found that thousands of US dollars-worth of gaming equipment they owned or had leased to third parties was suddenly out of reach. And all this at a time when businesses everywhere need all the liquidity they can get.
An American company faced with this kind of problem would in all likelihood get on the phone to its lawyers or to the US Embassy to see if any arms could be (legally) twisted.
In Russia, the direct approach is more in fashion. Russian business people are by definition not shrinking violets. You need a thick skin, good political contacts and in some cases a set of body armour to make any headway in a post-Soviet economy.
IAG understands several of these demi-oligarchs hatched a scheme to snatch back their equipment at night from locked premises. The plan was about to swing into action—until it was pointed out that they would in all likelihood have to face the wrath of an armed and potentially dangerous group—i.e., the local police. The boys in tall peaked hats and sunglasses were already reportedly ticked off at the loss of a lucrative source of unofficial ‘tax’ from the capital’s gambling industry after the unfortunate accidental death of their commander.
IAG‘s sources suggest this was the sort of ‘law enforcement’ scenario that Russians—schooled in the world of business negotiation occasionally featuring armed back up—could understand. They decided to relent and try a different tack.
There’s a general rule in developing countries (sorry, ’emerging markets’) that the level of accountability of public servants is inversely proportional to the number of people in uniform actually on the streets. By that measure, the Russian traders were probably wise to hold off and seek a negotiated settlement for the return of their kit.