Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen revealed Thursday that authorities have already uncovered more than 1,700 illegal gambling operations in Phnom Penh and Kandal alone since he ordered a crackdown on such operations earlier this month.
According to The Khmer Times, the figures were confirmed by the Prime Minister during a policy announcement in which he also reiterated his expectation that law enforcement officials would continue their efforts in closing down such operations. Since issuing his order on 17 September, the Prime Minister said around 700 gambling operations in Kandal province and 1,000 in Phnom Penh have already been identified by authorities.
However, he also questioned the efforts of local authorities in policing such establishments in the past.
“Regarding the issue of safety in villages and communes, which we have been implementing for many years, why is it that gambling places seem to appear out of nowhere and for everybody to see, and local authorities seem to ignore these places and fail to eliminate them?” he asked.
“So the problem is whether authorities want to crack down on illegal gambling or not.”
Hun Sen’s initial order earlier this month followed a dramatic rise in reported cases of human trafficking and kidnappings linked to the rampant casino industry in Cambodia.
“I would like to issue a very strict order, please take decisive and timely action,” he said at the time.
“I do not hesitate with the removal of the capital-provincial governors, district governors, Khans, municipalities or any level of police officers who are found to be irresponsible.
“I would like to inform you that it is no longer possible to tolerate anarchic situations in the casino. We must be strict.”