Cambodia: Casino building part of 'secret strategy' to protect its borders
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Hun Sen said allowing the construction of a spate of casinos on the border was part of a "secret strategy" to protect the country's territory from its neighbours.
"One can remove border markers, but one can't remove five-storey hotels. Don't be stupid," he said, in response to opposition criticism that the gambling dens were harmful to the country.
Cambodia's border with Vietnam and Thailand is dotted with dozens of casinos and accompanying hotels catering mostly to foreign gamblers since Cambodians are not legally allowed to gamble. "You force me to talk about it. This should be a secret strategy to protect the nation," the strongman premier said in typically feisty fashion.
Hun Sen used the marathon address, which was broadcast live on television, to deny long-standing claims from the main opposition party that his government was allowing Vietnam to encroach on Cambodian territory.
Cambodia and Vietnam officially began demarcating their 1,271 kilometer border in September 2006 after decades of territorial disputes stemming from French colonial times. According to Hun Sen some 700 kilometers have been demarcated so far.