Around 40 foreign casino workers broke through a fence of the Golden Phoenix Entertainment Casino in Koh Thom, Cambodia, last week and swam across the river to Vietnam.
According to a report by The Khmer Times, the dramatic scenes took place late Thursday and saw the group fighting with security guards before breaking free. Three security guards were said to have been injured in the melee.
There were conflicting reports about what caused the incident, which was initially said to be in response to an immigration crackdown ahead of a visit later that evening from Nop Dara, Deputy Governor of Kandal Province.
However, other media has stated the workers were fleeing the casino itself due to alleged slave labor conditions.
The Interior Minister of Cambodia, Sar Kheng, said some of the Vietnamese employees claimed they were forced into unpaid work and tricked by the casino into working 14-hour days without compensation.
“These people might have been here working illegally,” he said. “They were promised salaries, but they did not get what they were promised. They crossed back to Vietnam because they could not reach a deal. They fled the place.”
The 35 men and five women who fled have since been tracked down while the manager of the casino has been detained, according to various media reports.
Job scams at casinos across parts of Southeast Asia have been a major issue of late, prompting Macau’s Judiciary Police (PJ) to hold a press conference last week warning people of the potential danger after detecting at least five cases of residents being lured away on the promise of high-paying casino jobs that are suspected of being fraudulent instead.