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On June 12, the U.S. Treasury took a notable step: sanctioning Cambodian General Hing Bun Hieng for his complicity in serious human rights abuses. It was the first time that a Cambodian official has been sanctioned under America’s Global Magnitsky Act.
Poipet, a Cambodian boomtown on the Thai border, is 400 kilometers and light years away from world-class NagaWorld in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh.
When Chen Lip Keong won Cambodia's first casino license in 1994, he had hardly ever stepped inside a casino. He'd been to Malaysia's Genting Highlands once on a date in the 1970s and visited Las Vegas once as a tourist. Casinos are "not in my blood; I'm not a gambler," he says. Yet today, renowned casino architect Paul Steelman calls Chen "one of the most powerful creators of these properties in the world."
On the day we arrived in Cambodia earlier this month, the front-page headlines in the Phnom Penh Post touted new amendments to the country’s constitution, including restrictions on the right to assemble, restrictions on the right to vote or to stand for election and a ban on insulting the king.