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King Romans Group, Chinas Spielhölle in Laos
Erstellt von DisainaM, 03.07.2011, 20:00 Uhr · 2 Antworten · 7.208 Aufrufe
03.07.11, 20:00 #1
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King Romans Group, Chinas Spielhölle in Laos
das neue Las Vegas in Laos baut die chinesische King Romans Group auf einem Gebiet, welches ihnen auf 99 Jahre Sonderrechte einräumt.
die goldene Krone leuchtet nachts von Laos nach Thailand,
das neue chinesische Spielcasione wird nur eins von mehreren Spielcasinos, die noch gebaut werden.
Gewaltige Veränderungen kündigen sich in der gegend an, da die Spielcasinogruppe den Bedarf von tausenden Prostituierten decken muss.
Auch der Weltspiegel berichtet heute
Sendeanstalt und Sendedatum: SWR, Sonntag, 3. Juli 2011
Hilfe, die Chinesen kommen. Das sagen zumindest viele laotische Bauern im Dreiländereck am Mekong. Im Dörfchen Ton Pheung bauen chinesische Investoren ein riesiges Glücksspielparadies mit Kasinos, Luxushotels und Shoppingcenter und Golfplatz. Die Bauern der Region werden einfach umgesiedelt. 30 Quadratkilometer groß ist das Gelände, in dem die chinesischen Kapitalisten die nächsten 99 Jahre alleine das Sagen haben werden. Laotische Polizei oder Beamte sucht man hier vergeblich. Dafür finden sich aber Glücksritter, Prostituierte und reiche Rentner aus China, Thailand und Myanmar. Und das ist nur der Anfang. Chinas Grenze verschiebt sich unbemerkt auf das Gebiet eines eigentlich souveränen Staates. Im armen kommunistischen Laos haben chinesische Investoren Konzessionen für weitere 10.000 Quadratkilometer beantragt – mehr als 6 Prozent der Landesfläche. Chinatown ist überall.
bald dürfte das Video auch abrufbar sein.
The Kings Romans Casino sits across the Mekong River on the Laos side, a gaudy beacon of civilisation in what is otherwise an empty stretch of green. We are in the Thai portion of the Golden Triangle, the historic land of opium production where Burma and Laos meet, and no one will tell us how to get across the river. We ask three people, each of which smiles and uses a suspiciously identical phrase: "Casino? No. Only Laos shopping."
We finally made it across the river about half an hour before the crossing was supposed to close, and only by invoking the name of a contact in far away Bangkok. We were dropped off at the speedboat pier and driven to one of several hotel buildings, which together can accommodate up to five hundred guests. At night, the bars and hotel buildings shine with collections of coloured bulbs, complementing the large multi-coloured crown that tops the dome of the casino building itself. The flashiness of the casino is a big change from the old nighttime scene in the area. As the manager who accompanied us said, "before there was nothing in Laos; there were no lights at night."
Construction of the pompous sounding Kings Romans started four years ago with a price tag of about 500 million US dollars, including the installation of a 46 km road from the casino to the Laos town of Huay Xai further down the Mekong River (opposite Chiang Khong on the Thai side). According to the manager, there were plenty of challenges, as labourers and materials for the building had to be transported from China into the relatively undeveloped region. The casino is one of several projects located in an area in northern Laos called the Special Economic Zone, to which the government has granted Chinese companies development rights with a 99-year lease. The Kings Romans Group controls 10,000 hectares of that region. At the end of that period, all of the Chinese-owned properties in the area will be turned over to the Laos authorities.
Meanwhile, the casino claims they are seeing about ten thousand guests per month, with many from China, Thailand, Europe, and the United States. However, during our visit we appeared to be the only foreigners in sight, certainly quite daunting at times. It is said to be similar to the casinos found in China's Macau special administrative region (gambling is illegal in the rest of China). Although the identities of the group's funders are not public, we were told the group has substantial experience in casino management, including connections in Macau, Burma's Mongla gambling region, and Boten on the China-Laos border. The manager pointed out that "there are other casinos in Laos, but they are much smaller and not as good." The company has its own security force to patrol the area. The emphasis on security hopes to prevent the serious problems (including allegations of violence and kidnapping) which plagued the gambling area at Boten.
The complex does seem rather well controlled. There is no drinking or picture-taking allowed inside the casino, and entrances are guarded by security staff and metal detectors. Unlike the bling and glam of Vegas, gambling is serious business here. Inside, huge amounts of money move around under standard casino video surveillance. A live pianist plays a baby grand on a red velvet stage. The interior design is a fusion of grandiose styles: chunky Renaissance murals, sweeping staircases, and huge chandeliers. We watched in unpaid-intern horror as one man blithely bet 625 baht over and over again at a slot machine and another played with a stack of 10,000 yuan card chips. Everywhere there are servers offering water, tea, and coffee, and smoking is allowed indoors.
The massive complex is supported by a staff of 4-5 thousand people, many of whom live in large dorm-like apartments a little outside of the main area. Some of the staff are from the seven villages in the area, and some commute to work by motorbike. Others have come to work in the area from Thailand, Russia, and Nepal. The casino's management hopes that the project will benefit local people by providing jobs and opportunities for founding small businesses. Already, the manager told us, the area has improved vastly: "before it was an opium and drug businesses, maybe an only ten years before...there were no roads, no electricity, no water...Laos is developing and it is good for them."
The manager showed us a new village the company built for locals (called Ban Kong), a set of 120 modern buildings, large and identical and yellow, built on stilts. Construction on the complex is slated to continue indefinitely. The group is looking for more partners, and plans on putting in a golf course, a museum, more 4-star hotels, and an airport. They hope to develop a network of branches and agents in nearby cities, including Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. "In twenty years, we're planning on building a city here," said the manager, "This is only a start."
Laos’s Chinese Gamble
A new casino complex is supposed to transform poor Ton Pheung into a ‘Macau on the Mekong’. But some locals are already nervous
A large golden dome dominates the Laotian landscape on the other side of the Mekong River. From Chiang Saen, the ancient capital of the Lanna kingdom and now a Thai port, visitors board boats at a landing stage built by a Chinese trading company. Every 15 minutes, visitors are picked up by fast launches and whisked across the river. Landing on the Laotian side, they’re ushered into a pompous domed edifice emblazoned with Chinese dragons on the stairway that houses the immigration arrival hall in the casino zone of Ton Pheung in Laos’ Bokeo Province. Welcome to the Golden Triangle’s glittering new gambling city, dubbed the new ‘Macau on the Mekong’.
Yet getting to stamp a 14-day free entry stamp into visitors’ passports is about the only remaining semblance of authority still exercised by the host Laotian government in this Chinese-run Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Along the waterfront, high-powered boats disgorge Chinese businessmen, investors, gamblers and tourists. Some have made their way here not through the popular route via neighbouring Thailand, but directly from Yunnan Province in China, while others arrive by land along the vastly improved road from the Chinese border at Boten.
This may be Laos, but the 4-star hotel, restaurants, shops and the currency are all Chinese. In every direction there’s the buzz of ongoing construction in this 3000-hectare entertainment and trading zone. The resulting atmosphere jars with the country’s usual lazy charm, Buddhist culture, rich ethnic diversity and the communal village traditions of the province. Indeed it feels much more like a commercial enclave of China. But it’s an enclave that seems beyond the normal jurisdiction of its weak host state. In the words of one casino executive: ‘We have our own government inside the zone.’
A group of Chinese investors are trying to transform the Golden Triangle’s traditional image as a mecca of the international heroin trade to a ‘Macau on the Mekong’ by luring gamblers, tourists and traders. When the complex is completed at the end of next year, it will boast two golf courses, karaoke bars, massage parlours, swimming pools, hotels, a clinic and shopping centre. But it’s no accident that the first building in place is the casino. After all, gambling is illegal in both Thailand and China.
The first phase of construction, which includes a road to the nearest town of Ban Houei Xay, will cost between $200 million and $300 million. The total undertaking, meanwhile, is expected to cost about $2.25 billion dollars, with over 50 projects to be completed by 2020.
The company behind all this is little-known Dokngiewkham, registered in Hong Kong and also known by the English name The King Romans Group. Its investors are said to hail from Hong Kong, Macau and Yunnan Province, although the group has declined to divulge the names or details of their backers.
This mega project’s strategy is based on rapid regional integration and the construction of an ‘Asian highway’. Road improvements have greatly improved road access from Yunnan through Laos to the Thai border at Chiang Khong on the Mekong, while railway links are also in the works that will link northern Thailand through Laos to China.
Laos’ communist government has signed over 10,000 hectares to Dokngiewkhamon a 99-year lease basis. A prime ministerial decree in February, meanwhile, set out the guidelines for ‘the establishment and management of the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone’ with 3000 hectares designated as a duty-free SEZ. The rest has been set aside for eco-tourism, with the government to share the profits with the developer.
Yet despite the fact that China is the biggest investor in Laos, with a plethora of rubber plantations and mines, an influx of Chinese settlers is fuelling growing anti-Chinese sentiment in this landlocked nation.
Laotian farmers already complain they’ve been pressured by local authorities to sell land for excessively low prices to fast expanding Chinese rubber plantations. The casino project, with its plans for a new city of more than 50,000 people—a prospective Chinatown in the Golden Triangle—are therefore almost certain to fuel more local resentment.
The mood isn’t helped by the fact that an older Chinese-run casino in Boten has acquired an unsavoury reputation for being rife with drugs, kidnappings, blackmail and murder. China has warned its citizens to stay away and claims to have asked the Lao government to close it down. But it remains open, still firmly in the hands of private Chinese investors who employ their own security force, which many say acts with impunity.
E. Abbas a Dokngiewkham executive, admits the group’s previous experience is limited to operating casinos in Mongla, a Chinese-dominated border town in Special Region No. 4 of Shan state in Burma. Built among the ethnic hill tribes of northern Burma, Mongla has a reputation for being a hotspot of laundering for the profits of the region’s drugs trade, all under the supervision of local warlord Sai Leun, aka Lin Ming Xian.
It’s only a short trip from Mongla across the Mekong to the casino complex in Ton Phueng. Already, there’s a fleet of SUVs and a stretch limousine parked outside. Yet Dokngiewkham’s website, for one, gives no clue at all as to the identity of the main investors in this lavish project.
Chao Wei, the chairman of the SEZ management committee, who is said to have good connections in Macau, is keeping his financial backers a close secret. Is Mongla kingpin Lin Ming Xian, known to frequent the Ton Pheung casino, among the investors? No one will say.
Thai businessman Pattana Sittisombat, president of the Committee for the Economic Quadrangle and a key figure in economic cooperation between northern Thailand, Laos and Yunnan Province, says he’s worried about where all the money is coming from.
‘I’m absolutely concerned about the possibility that illicit funds could be attracted to this project, and that it could provide opportunities for money laundering,’ he says.
Abbas, though, is dismissive of such talk. ‘I can offer reassurances that our casino doesn’t tolerate any illegal activities or money-laundering.’ Arguing that the region’s opium heydays of the 1960s through 1990s are a thing of the past, Abbas adds: ‘It’s part of our project to be a Golden Triangle theme park.’
While Afghanistan has long overtaken Burma as the world’s largest source of opium cultivation and heroin production, the Burmese narcotics trade has recently seen a resurgence. Indeed, although Special Region No. 4 has supposedly abandoned narcotics, the dominant military force in this remote region of northern Burma is still the UWSA, one of the world’s major drug-traf....ing militias, which operates in the adjoining Shan State region No. 2.
Laotian people are already victims of the rampant smuggling of ‘Ya Ba’ (the local term for amphetamines), which are manufactured in small laboratories just across the Mekong by USWA forces. With this Chinese enclave effectively operating outside the sovereignty of the host country and shrouded in mystery with its unknown cash flows, hidden backers and secret investment partners, unrest among ordinary Lao seems bound to escalate.
Asked who he thought was in control of the complex, one villager living just outside the construction zone pointed in the direction of the casino. ‘Over there, it’s no more Lao,’ he said simply. ‘That’s China.
The communist government of Laos granted land to a Chinese company to develop a tourism destination but got a tax-exempt casino instead.
King Romans Group’s casino occupies 3,000 of the 10,000-hectare grant in the province of Boke along the Mekong River near the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and China.
The destination resort project, approved in April 2007, aims to transform the Golden Triangle, once the epicenter of the heroin trade, into a full-scale international destination with hotels, shopping, a golf course, spa and fitness facilities, swimming pools, medical facilities, an airport and other attractions.
Nothing like that exists at the site now, but Zhao Wei, the president of King Romans Group, told the South China Morning Post his company is investing millions of dollars to renovate the Mekong River port and build a road up to 30 kilometers to the regional capital of Ban Houei Xav. So far, about 3 billion yuan (US$455 million) has been invested, the company said, and plans call for billions more in the years ahead.
The casino, meanwhile, pays no taxes because it is located in a “special economic zone” designated by the government to spur development.
23.11.11, 20:32 #2
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alle sind fest davon überzeugt,
die th. Polizei, das Opfer, die Presse,
dieses Attentat war nur eine Verwechslung
Casino executive Gore shot in Bangkok
Veteran Asia casino executive and consultant Michael Gore and a colleague are recovering from wounds suffered in a drive-by shooting in Bangkok that police call a case of mistaken identity.
Mr Gore, a former executive with Genting Group in Malaysia and Singapore and at small casinos in Cambodia, arrived in Bangkok from India early on November 1. Mr Gore held a series of meetings that day with a Malaysian business partner, seeking investors for a luxury casino liner to be based in Mumbai.
After a meeting ending at around 9pm local time, the men accepted the offer of a limousine ride back to their hotel. The vehicle, a late model BMW 7 Series with heavily tinted windows, is a common sight on the streets of Bangkok.
While the car was stopped in traffic near Lumpini Park in central Bangkok, a series of shots blew out the driver’s side window, killing the driver as the limo rolled into another vehicle.
Mr Gore was seated behind the driver, and a shot broke the window beside him, shattering his right forearm. “I felt an intense stabbed pain in my right arm,” Mr Gore, 55 years old, told Macau Business.
A motorcycle pulled up on the passenger side, and the driver seemed to point something into the limousine, but then circled and drove away.
Police say the shootings were a case of mistaken identity, and Mr Gore, a former police detective in the U.S. state of New Jersey, agreed.
“I have not been in Thailand for a long time and am not currently doing business there,” he said. “Few people knew I was going to Bangkok on this date.” He added that his partner has even less recent contact with Thailand.
22.10.16, 22:13 #3
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nachdem Thailand an vielen Grenzen einen Shutdown gemacht haben,
und sämtliche Zockertouren seit gut 18 Monaten auf Eis gelegt wurden,
haben die chinesischen Zockertriaden umstrukturiert,
und haben in Vietnam,
in der zauberhaften Halong Bay investiert.
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