πŸ’° U.S. slaps sanctions on Laos Golden Triangle 'casino' in bid to break up narco-empire - Reuters

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A Kings Romans Hotel speedboat transport travelers with border passes High-​rise buildings in the Laotian casino city can be seen from.


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TON PHEUNG β€” A silhouette of the casino's golden domes and gaudy crown appears in the distance, standing out like a sore thumb against.


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Until , Boten was known for casinos, brothels and nightclubs – all border post in Mohan, on the Chinese side of the China-Laos border.


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Until , Boten was known for casinos, brothels and nightclubs – all border post in Mohan, on the Chinese side of the China-Laos border.


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Laos, the quiet, laid back country located between Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China, is home to three casinos. One is located in the border city of.


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TON PHEUNG β€” A silhouette of the casino's golden domes and gaudy crown appears in the distance, standing out like a sore thumb against.


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Boten, a onetime casino boomtown with thousands of visitors a month, this remote town on the China-Laos border has lived in the shadow of.


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Laos, the quiet, laid back country located between Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China, is home to three casinos. One is located in the border city of.


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A Kings Romans Hotel speedboat transport travelers with border passes High-​rise buildings in the Laotian casino city can be seen from.


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The Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone is located along the Mekong River in the Ton The zone is dominated by its casino which attracts mostly Chinese visitors, and several hotels. from Thailand by boat from the pier at the Chiang Saen Thailand-Laos Border Crossing Immigration Checkpoint at Ban Sop Ruak.


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Rice paddies give way to story condominiums and SUVs are increasingly common on the empty streets. In reality, most of the new shops in town are still shuttered and almost all of the workers are Chinese. The Kings Roman casino is the alleged nerve center of Zhao's operation, serving as a storage and transit hub for the trade in heroin and methamphetamines. Please check your email to confirm! Subscribe to our newsletter for more great reads. Department of the Treasury announced sanctions against the Chinese investor and listed Kings Roman, Golden Kapok, and other Zhao-linked entities as transnational criminal organizations charged with "horrendous illicit activities" including drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption, human trafficking, and trafficking of exotic animals. Chinese citizens fill the gambling halls, bringing piles of banknotes and clouds of cigarette smoke. The most powerful is Zhao Wei, who obtained a year concession on 10, hectares of land in Bokeo from the Laotian government in That land was ambitiously transformed into a small village on the banks of the Mekong, replete with luxury hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, golf courses, spas, and casinos β€” everything that was to become the Ton Pheung SEZ. See more from World Affairs here. Beyond its position in the Golden Triangle, Ton Pheung has emerged as a regional center for the sex trafficking of minors and the trade in exotic animals, including tigers, moon bears, pangolins and elephants. For his part, Ye Jiankun denies any connection to illegal activities. The best international journalism. The Kings Roman Casino in Ton Pheung has been accused of being the site of multiple crimes including trafficking in drugs, humans, and animals β€” Photo: Thanate Tan. A report published by the British NGO Environmental Investigation Agency described the zone as a veritable "open-air market" of endangered species. The Kings Roman Casino in Ton Pheung has been accused of being the site of multiple crimes including trafficking in drugs, humans, and animals β€” Photo: Thanate Tan Little is known about Zhao himself. Worldcrunch Today daily newsletter. He was born 65 years ago in Heilongjiang province in northeastern China, going on to invest in Macau and the Burmese border town of Mong La in the s. The mission of Worldcrunch - to deliver the best and most trusted sources of news, regardless of language or geography - is more vital than ever. In January, the U. To reach even further, we are: pausing the paywall to let anyone access our exclusive coverage. Related Stories.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Either way, if you ask people in front of the Kings Roman casino, they'll tell you that anything is available still upon request. Clocks are set to Beijing time and almost no one accepts the Laotian kip as currency, preferring the Chinese yuan instead. Recently, efforts have been made to sweep the worst excesses under the rug. But while hundreds of millions of dollars in investment flooded into this remote northwestern province, there's been little benefit for locals. Not everyone, though, is so enthusiastic about Zhao Wei and his many business ventures. And prostitution was confined to massage centers. The most egregious items were taken off restaurant menus. In northwestern Laos, Chinese businesses dominate the Ton Pheung district, a special economic zone that has become a hub for all kinds of trafficking. Plus you can use the evocative brand of the Golden Triangle. A brave group of women are taking on the enormous task of finding and destroying millions of unex I Agree. Gambling is banned in China outside of Macau, so Chinese tourists flock to this corner of Laos for slot machines, online betting, and other casino games. To the northeast is the border with China, and Chinese citizens have come to dominate and the surrounding province of Bokeo. Zhou Ye recently arrived from the southern Chinese province of Guangdong and opened a restaurant near a Confucius statue, located in a part of town modeled after a traditional Chinese city. While nominally under the control of the government in Vientiane, everyone in Ton Pheung speaks Mandarin. TON PHEUNG β€” A silhouette of the casino's golden domes and gaudy crown appears in the distance, standing out like a sore thumb against the landscape of lush tropical hills in this northwestern corner of Laos. The main attraction is the Kings Roman Casino, which is decorated with Greco-Roman statues and ceilings painted with neoclassical scenes. While hundreds of millions of dollars in investment flooded into this remote northwestern province, there's been little benefit for locals. Also, exotic animal parts are used as ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine, served in restaurants, or sold as souvenirs in the form of rhino horns and ivory trinkets. View article in original language. Francesco Radicioni. Just across the Mekong river from Thailand, Ton Pheung is just a stone's throw from where the borders of Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand meet. To reach even further, we are:. Finally in English. Little is known about Zhao himself. Like Ton Pheung today, Mong La became a hub for local drug lords seeking to launder their illicit money by financing a flourishing gambling industry. A pile of seized ivory objects was incinerated in front of the cameras. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}The coronavirus crisis is bringing the world into our lives like never before. Zhao can count on a solid network of friends and relationships in Vientiane, and a brochure for the Kings Roman proudly displays a visit by the ex-Laotian leader Choummaly Sayasone. On paper, Zhao's project promised to raise living standards and spur economic development in this small, impoverished country.