China in particular has been very keen to eliminate cross-border gambling, expending a considerable effort to this end over the past years, arresting thousands of suspects, shuttering gambling sites, operations, and more.
All the while, the country has been trying to elicit the same level of commitment from neighbors such as the Philippines and Cambodia to whom China is an important trading partner and can therefore exercise its charm offensive.
China Continues to Work with Cambodia on Restricting Illegal Gambling
But now, the two Asian countries have come to an agreement to strengthen their bilateral ties insofar as cracking down on illegal online gambling and cross-border gambling is concerned. A press briefing of the Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian paid particular attention to illegal gambling that was emanating from or being facilitated by illegitimate organizations in Cambodia.
The Khmer Times cited the ambassador as saying that China is prepared to work with Cambodian authorities and that transnational crime, such as drug and human trafficking, illegal online gambling and other illicit activities, should be dealt swiftly with. Part of this effort would require the continued sharing of information between law enforcement in the two countries.
China has already had success in projecting its ambitions to crack down on illegal gambling in Asia. The country convinced Cambodia to stop issuing new online gambling licenses and the government further decided to suspend licenses for online gambling properties which were deemed void on January 1, 2020.
Fighting Illegal Gambling Has Already Begun in Cambodia
Cambodia has also since tried targeting some of the hot spots in the country connected to illegal gambling activities, such as Sihanoukville, a coastal town that has raised media headlines with repeated reports of human trafficking which have tarnished Cambodia’s international reputation.
In January, the country said that it had shut down more than 200 illegal gambling businesses between September 15 and December 27. These efforts are continuing into 2023. As to licensed gambling operations in the country, Cambodia has urged them to pay their due tax, amid a larger overhaul of the casino’s taxation system in the country.