This Could Become The Las Vegas Of Southeast Asia
Gambling is illegal in Cambodia, but in Sihanoukville, a city named after a former king, thousands of Chinese tourists and workers enjoy the once-quiet town’s three dozen casinos, many of which have appeared in just the last two years. The visitors come in on 87 flights every week to an airport with just one runway.
A big reason for this influx is China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is attempting to build around $1 trillion in infrastructure throughout Asia and Africa. For Sihanoukville, this means around $4.2 billion worth of projects, including over 100 Chinese-owned factories and a four-lane toll road to the capital, as well as power plants and offshore oil exploration.
The idea is to make Cambodia more like China by generating investments in tourism, manufacturing and construction. While this has been successful in many ways, like boosting the local economy, there have also been a lot of downsides. Sihanoukville, a city on the coast with around 160,000 residents, is in a constant state of flux, with accompanying filth and noise. And because of all the new businesses, the port city has also seen an increase in living costs, like housing prices, and especially crime.
There have recently been multiple instances of money laundering, internet scams, illegal gambling, human trafficking, drunk driving and even frequent power outages. Aside from the unfortunate side effects, Cambodia, one of the poorest countries in Asia, hopes to enhance their value, and China has played a big part in that growth by providing money and tourists. Check out the video here to see and learn more.