Bavet Moc Bai Casino

Bavet Moc Bai Casino is one of Cambodia’s most well-established casinos, operating for over two decades in the Cambodian casino town of Bavet, a stone’s throw from the border with Vietnam. It sits in a complex of casinos and buildings commonly referred to as ‘Moc Bai’, which contains numerous online gambling operations and until recently housed thousands of online workers. The area and the casino itself have been linked to a host of sensational news reports, and the casino works with several major online gambling operators. It is owned by a Chinese-born casino mogul who built his gambling empire in Myanmar in the 1990s before expanding to Laos and Cambodia. He has been linked to several court cases in China related to illegal cross-border and online gambling operations.
  • Published 31 Jan, 2023

Chinese Name: 巴域木牌大酒店娱乐城
Location: Bavet City, Svay Rieng Province, Cambodia

  • U Wang Young (យូ វ៉ាងយុង) / Wang Yong (王勇)
  • Nan Aye Nun (ណាន អេយីនុង)
  • Won Chwin Kyane (also known as Sai Naw)
  • Won Chwin Kye (also known as Maung Sai Kyaw)
  • Won Chwin Lin (also known as Lei Lei Win)
  • Casino Bavet-Moc Bai Co., Ltd. (巴域木牌国际娱乐公司)
  • Yongyuan Group (永源集团)
  • Dong Fang Property Management Co., Ltd. (东方物业管理有限公司)
  • Taipei 101

What Do We Know about Bavet Moc Bai Casino?

Bavet sits on the border with Vietnam, facing the Mộc Bài border gate. With gambling illegal in Vietnam, the industry has thrived on the Cambodian side of the border, and Bavet City developed around its casino economy. In recent years, this expanded to include the booming online gambling industry. Many casinos now have the traditional in-person casinos at the front and operate online gambling in secure areas at the rear. Other operations focus solely on online gambling from taller apartment blocks and compounds. Online gambling has been illegal in Cambodia since the start of 2020, yet it is well known that the industry continued to thrive.

Operating since 2002 and located on National Road 1, which connects Phnom Penh to the Vietnamese border, Bavet Moc Bai Casino is one of Cambodia’s most well-established casinos. Its full name is Bavet Moc Bai International Hotel Casino (巴域木牌大酒店娱乐城). It sits just a few hundred metres from the Cambodian border gate, on the edge of a larger complex of casinos, tower blocks, and buildings.

Exterior of Bavet Moc Bai Casino by night. Source: Bavet-Moc Bai Casino&Hotel Facebook.

Bavet Moc Bai Casino is situated in the southeast corner of a complex that is colloquially referred to as ‘Moc Bai’. The area is a maze of casinos, apartments, and other buildings. The casinos are located on the main road but sitting behind them are dozens of buildings that house online gambling operations, staffed largely by workers from Vietnam, as well as Chinese nationals and others. Some areas are accessible, but others are blocked by high walls, razor wire, and guarded gates.

The map below shows where the casino sits within the wider ‘Moc Bai’ complex. However, it is clear that the company that owns the casino also owns other properties within the Moc Bai complex. In April 2021, with Covid-19 infections beginning to spread in Cambodia, the Svay Rieng provincial government requisitioned two buildings owned by Bavet Moc Bai Casino for use as treatment facilities. Geolocation of the photos in news reports show these buildings are located on the side of the Moc Bai complex opposite to the casino. Photographs from inside the buildings show the small rooms to be set up as typical basic workers’ dorm with four bunk beds.

The ‘Moc Bai’ complex.

There are also online gambling companies operating in other parts of the complex that work with Bavet Moc Bai Casino, indicating that the company may own more buildings in the wider complex and lease them to these operators. Viewing the location of Bavet Moc Bai Casino on Google Maps, pins for several online gambling brands can be seen close by, including VN138, Tobet88, Taipei 101, and 789 Bet. Two of these names, Taipei 101 and 789 Bet, have clear links to Bavet Moc Bai Casino. They are returned to in the next section of this profile.

Another online gaming site that claims to be located at Bavet Moc Bai Casino is 8kBET. Its website includes job opportunities in sales and marketing (i.e., finding potential gamblers on social media and other online channels), customer service (dealing with customer questions and complaints), and human resources (recruiting new workers, with bonuses provided for bringing in more than five people per month). Working hours are 1pm to 11pm each day for a salary plus performance bonuses, with the company handling immigration and labour requirements and providing lodgings and meals. Cognisant of the highly negative reputation the industry has developed in recent years, the company website has several pages warning job seekers about the risks of being tricked into fake jobs in Cambodia and falling victim to human trafficking, encouraging people to seek work through reputable companies.

Online recruiters regularly post work opportunities at Bavet Moc Bai Casino on Facebook, with basic job descriptions similar to those used by other online gambling and fraud operators. Such ads have been posted for several years and continue to be posted as of December 2022, including the example below recruiting for 巴域木牌国际娱乐公司 (Casino Bavet-Moc Bai Co., Ltd.). The post, written in Chinese, calls for Chinese-Cambodian or English-Cambodian translators, no experience required, the ability to use a computer, with room and board provided.

Facebook recruitment for translators at Bavet Moc Bai Casino. Source: Seng Vandoeurn Facebook.

The building directly adjacent to Bavet Moc Bai Casino is called Venus Casino and Hotel (金星娱乐城). The two buildings are connected by a shared façade and have a similar design. The road off National Road 1 that leads alongside Venus has a grand archway bearing the characters 巴域木牌国际娱乐公司, the Chinese name for the company that owns Bavet Moc Bai Casino. Venus Casino also hosts online gambling, via platforms including AE888 and SV388. Vietnamese media has named Venus as a location where workers have been sold and held against their will, including one report by VnExpress that featured an interview with a man who helped to rescue three teenagers from the casino in mid-2022, paying a ransom of US$6,000 per person. Numerous posts can be found on Facebook seeking to recruit workers for online jobs at Venus.

A company called Dong Fang Property Management Co., Ltd. (东方物业管理有限公司) is responsible for managing buildings in at least part of the Moc Bai complex. In early September 2019, just two weeks after Cambodia announced it was banning online gambling, the company issued a letter addressed to employees responding to recent ‘rumours’ and ‘media reports’. Although it does not specify what these rumours may be, in the letter Dong Fang obliquely states that it has experience working in Southeast Asia and with that it has ‘certain connections’ that can deal with the problem. It also emphasises that its online operations have always been licensed and reassures employees not to worry and to continue their work as normal. The month prior, the company had issued another letter referring to a raid conducted on 21 August on one compound building (returned to below). According to the company, the Deputy Prime Minister had authorised the raid targeting online scammers, the issue was handled, and those involved had left the compound. The company reassured tenants to continue working as normal but reminded them that scamming activities were not allowed on its property. Below is a copy of the two letters along with translations by the authors.

Letter from Dong Fang Property Management letter to employees, September 2019. Source: Tnaut.

Letter from Dong Fang Property Management letter to employees, September 2019. Source: Tnaut.

Letter from Dong Fang Property Management letter to tenants, August 2019. Source: Bodu365.

Letter from Dong Fang Property Management letter to tenants, August 2019. Source: Bodu365.

Over recent years, Bavet Moc Bai Casino has appeared in numerous reports related to online operations, as well as reports of violent crime and several deaths. A review of media reporting from the past few years identified the following news (among others):

  • January 2017: A dispute between Cambodian and Chinese staff at Bavet Moc Bai Casino escalated and led to the serious injury of a Chinese national. Over 20 Chinese workers came out and attacked the police car that took away the suspects.
  • August 2019: As mentioned above, on 21 August, a raid occurred in the Moc Bai compound. In a joint operation between Cambodian and Chinese police, 365 Chinese, 27 of whom were wanted fugitives, along with one Vietnamese national were arrested. A further 339 were detained pending investigation.
  • September 2019: Cambodia’s Department of Internal Security working with the immigration department, provincial police, and provincial deputy prosecutor inspected an apartment building at Bavet Moc Bai Casino and arrested 53 Chinese nationals.
  • October 2021: 13 Vietnamese nationals were rescued from Bavet Moc Bai Casino. Their captors had demanded a fee for their release, and after they contacted family members for money, families alerted the authorities, leading to their rescue by Cambodian provincial military police. The youngest victim was a 16-year-old girl and the oldest a 28-year-old man. All were repatriated to Vietnam the following day.
  • July 2022: Voice of Democracy (VOD), published an in-depth article on a report compiled by a ‘white hat’ Vietnamese hacker who had obtained detailed information on online gambling and scam operators working in Bavet. He was contacted by one man in 2021 who claimed he had been duped into working in the Moc Bai compound.
  • July 2022: A Chinese man was stabbed and killed by a fellow Chinese national at the casino over a US$3,000 debt. The commune police chief described the murdered man as a ‘resident’ at Bavet Moc Bai Casino. When investigating the crime, the chief told VOD that five officers attempted to enter the compound but only two could go in. The Bavet City police chief denied any incident had occurred, although it was reported widely in local media.
  • July 2022: A Vietnamese man died after jumping from the eighth floor of an apartment building in the compound of Bavet Moc Bai Casino.
  • October 2022: Two people were seriously injured when a car carrying two Chinese and a Vietnamese national crashed into the house of a village chief while driving at high speed. The people in the car were employees of Bavet Moc Bai Casino. Police found a Glock pistol and methamphetamine in the car.

The most high-profile incident at the Moc Bai complex occurred on 17 September 2022, when reports emerged that more than 60 people staged an escape from the compound. As was the case in August at another compound in Cambodia’s Kandal Province (see Pacific Real Estate/Golden Phoenix profile here), part of the escape was captured on video, which was widely reported. It is unclear which facility exactly within the Moc Bai complex these people escaped from, but as noted above, the owners of Bavet Moc Bai Casino control several buildings within the area and the video footage shows the escaped workers running alongside the Venus Casino towards the Bavet Moc Bai Casino archway and out of the complex.

The people fled the compound in the early afternoon under heavy rain, pursued by security guards, with several falling heavily on the slippery road. The Bavet police chief told VOD that the workers were not detained or forced to work, and that they were only running because it was raining outside. Similar dubious excuses were made by authorities after the Kandal compound escape the previous month. In the video footage of the Bavet escape one person can be seen falling and appears to be stamped on before being dragged back by security. According to a report from Tuổi Trẻ, the newspaper of Ho Chi Minh City’s Communist Youth League, a seven-month pregnant woman and her husband were part of the escape attempt, but were recaptured.

Barefoot workers flee the compound, with one woman falling. Photo provided by onlooker to Vietnamese media. Source: VnExpress.

Cambodian police intercepted the people and commenced an investigation. The Bavet police chief told reporters at The Phnom Penh Post that their investigations found some of the escapees were not holding passports. Later in the day the casino handed another group of Vietnamese nationals over to Cambodian police (including the pregnant woman and her husband). Reports give varying figures, but in total somewhere between 67 and 71 people escaped or were released. That evening they were placed in a hotel while they were being processed by Cambodian authorities, and Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry sent officials to coordinate with Cambodian police ‘to protect Vietnamese citizens and clarify the case.’ Four days later they were repatriated to Vietnam.

One of the escapees interviewed by VnExpress said he was tricked into working in the casino three months prior and put to work on the eighth floor of a compound building surrounded by high walls with only one exit. There he worked at a computer 12 hours a day and was not allowed to leave. According to another escapee, Cambodian police had visited the location that morning, and fearing that they would be sold to another compound, the group decided to run. He described how once they exited the compound gate they were pursued by guards with canes, and around 10 people were caught. One woman who spoke to the newspaper after she was repatriated said she had already been sold between four companies before she escaped, while a man named Cong Thanh said: ‘I’m so happy now that I’m home. I had to work 13 hours per day in the casino and was frequently beaten.’ The pregnant woman mentioned above told Tuổi Trẻ that her job was to ‘deceive’ people online, and although she did not want to do the work, she and her husband could not afford the US$2,000 fee to leave.

White arrow shows the part of the workers’ escape attempt caught on video.

The aerial shot of the Moc Bai complex below shows Bavet Moc Bai Casino, its neighbour, Venus Casino (linked by a façade), the archway bearing the name of Casino Bavet-Moc Bai Co., Ltd. in Chinese, and the road down which the workers made their escape towards National Road 1.

Aerial shot of Moc Bai complex. Source: Zing News.

On 11 October 2022, VOD reported that in the two to three weeks prior, dozens of buses had arrived in Bavet packed with workers who were likely displaced by the crackdown on online compounds that began in Sihanoukville in September. While some passengers returned to Vietnam, many stayed in Bavet. According to local drivers, many stopped at the compounds in the Moc Bai complex.

Later in October, the crackdown on illegal online gambling and scams began to target locations in Bavet. When word of the coming crackdown spread, an exodus of foreign workers commenced. On 25 October, the city saw violent scenes as buses attempted to move workers to other locations. In one case, Vietnamese workers turned out in numbers and pelted a buses with rocks, helping passengers to escape. The chaos was captured on TikTok videos that soon circulated widely. A local tuk-tuk driver told VOD that he had seen hundreds of people leaving the Crown, Moc Bai, and Heng Heng compounds over the previous three days.

The provincial labour department director told VOD that an inspection of the sprawling compounds behind Bavet Moc Bai Casino had commenced on 26 October. Many workers without documents fled Bavet and into Vietnam through the rice fields, in order to avoid immigration police on the border and the fines they would have to pay for lacking passports and visas. According to a report by Vietnam News Agency, on 26–27 October, more than 800 mostly undocumented Vietnamese rushed to the border, fleeing the impending crackdown. A Vietnamese border official told the agency that operators had released their staff in order to avoid fines for illegally employing foreign workers. According to Chinese-language media, Chinese nationals working in the zone went to hide in hotels. In January 2023, Interior Minister Sar Kheng told a civil society forum that 5,000 people were found in the raid of the Moc Bai compound. Noting the scope of the law enforcement challenge, the minister said: ‘We did not chase them or punish them. They realised they were doing wrong so they left. So it is fine. If we had arrested them, where is the prison to put them and food for them to eat? … We are in the process of solving it with each other.’

Despite the raids, online operations apparently continued in the area. On 20 December, there was another escape from the Moc Bai complex, this time by seven Thai nationals. The group livestreamed a plea for help on Facebook in the early hours of the morning claiming they were being held against their will by a Chinese company, forced to work 15-hour days. Their passports and IDs had been seized, the compound they were in was guarded and surrounded by electric fencing, and the ‘call-centre gang’ demanded up to 100,000 baht (almost US$3,000) to allow them to leave. After the bosses learned about their Facebook post, they were released and they travelled to the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh. The name of the specific compound that was holding them is not mentioned in media reports, but one blurred photo of the people leaving shows a person running down the same road that the Vietnamese escapees ran down in September, towards the Bavet Moc Bai Casino arch. The seven people were repatriated the next day. Four had travel documents and the others did not, and they told police they had been brought across the border into Cambodia illegally. According to the Bangkok Post, they said they were ‘ordered to swindle money from Thai nationals using a false Facebook page created to lure victims into applying for loans online and other scams,’ and if they failed to meet targets they were physically assaulted.

In April 2022, Bavet Moc Bai Casino had its casino license renewed.

Bavet Moc Bai Casino license renewal, April 2022. Source: Commercial Gambling Management Commission of Cambodia.

Which Actors and Companies Have Been Linked to Bavet Moc Bai Casino?

The company that owns Bavet Moc Bai Casino is called Casino Bavet-Moc Bai Co., Ltd. (巴域木牌国际娱乐公司). It is part of the Yongyuan Group (永源集团), which according to its website was established in 1988 and has operations in Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Macau, among others. Its business interests include real estate, gambling, tourism, hotels, dining, karaoke, and mining. Yongyuan Group also owns the Yongyuan Casino in Kandal Province (see profile here).

Casino Bavet-Moc Bai Co., Ltd. is chaired by U Wang Yong (យូ វ៉ាងយុង) and its directors are Nan Aye Nun (ណាន អេយីនុង), Won Chwin Kyane (also known as Sai Naw), Won Chwin Kye (also known as Maung Sai Kyaw), and Won Chwin Lin (also known as Lei Lei Win). The four directors are Myanmar-born naturalised Cambodian citizens. U Wang Young was born in China but holds Myanmar citizenship. Nan Aye Nun and U Wang Young were made Cambodian citizens on the same day, 20 August 2003. Won Chwin Kyane, Won Chwin Kye and Won Chwin Lin all received Cambodian citizenship on 2 July 2019.

Naturalisation decree making U Wang Young and Nan Aye Nun Cambodian citizens, August 2003.

Naturalisation decree making Lei Lei Win (Won Chwin Lin) a Cambodian citizen under the name Won Chwinlin Leileiwin, July 2019.

Naturalisation decree making Sai Naw (Won Cwhin Kyane) a Cambodian citizen under the name Won Chweinkayne Sainaw, July 2019.

Naturalisation decree making Sai Kyaw (Won Cwhin Kye) a Cambodian citizen under the name Won Cwhinkye Maungsaikyaw, July 2019.

Who Is U Wang Young?

U Wang Young is a Myanmar name, and the decree naturalising him as a Cambodian citizen states that he is a Myanmar national. However, online articles indicate that the founder and chairman of Yongyuan Group is China-born Wang Yong (王勇). Photos show U Wang Young and Wang Yong to be the same person.

A recruitment ad for Yongyuan Casino posted on Facebook includes pictures of the company office. Photos can be seen on the office wall of Wang Yong with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. In 2018, Wang Yong attended a ceremony of the Australian International Golf Association. The event was attended by several high-profile Chinese businesspeople, as well as Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nephew, Hun To.

Photos on the wall of Yongyuan Casino office show U Wang Young/Wang Yong with Prime Minister Hun Sen (top left). Source: 危伟成 Facebook page.
Wang Yong (left) with Hun To (centre) at meeting of the Australian International Golf Association in 2018. Source: 西澳华语905.
Wang Yong (second from right) with Hun To (centre) at meeting of the Australian International Golf Association in 2018. Source: 西澳华语905.

Wang Yong was born in Guangdong, China. One article from China Overseas Chinese Network (中国侨网) states that Wang started his business in Myanmar in the 1980s, but maintained ties to his hometown in Dianbai District, Maoming City, southwest Guangdong, making charitable donations for public works in the town where he was born. Dianbai developed a reputation as a ‘fraud village’ due to the prevalence of phone scams originating from the area in the mid 2010s. A biography published by Sohu News describes how Wang moved to Myanmar and invested in mining, raising capital that served as the foundation for Yongyuan Group. Several online articles state that while in Myanmar he married the daughter of an official in Kachin State in the early 1980s before setting up Yongyuan.

In the 1990s, Wang signed a gaming contract with Bao Youxiang, current president of Wa State, general secretary of the United Wa State Party, and commander-in-chief of the United Wa State Army. A 2003 article from Chinese newspaper Information Times (信息时报) stated that in 1996, Wang Yong established the Pangkham Casino (邦康赌场) in Pangkham, the de facto capital of Myanmar’s Wa State on the border with China. The casino was owned by Pangkham Entertainment Company (邦康娱乐公司), which appears on the Yongyuan website and is described as a subsidiary of the group.

In the 2000s, Wang chaired the Maijayang Special Economic Zone (迈扎央特区), an area located in another border area of Myanmar, in Kachin State. Maijayang was once a thriving area for cross-border gambling targeting Chinese nationals. From its establishment in the early 2000s, the area was controversial and linked to social problems in China as residents of Yunnan, and beyond, travelled to the area and accrued gambling debts. Numerous reports from the time discuss people from China held hostage in Maijayang and sometimes tortured if they could not pay off their debts. According to several reports, Yongyuan Group founded and controlled the Maida Entertainment Company (迈达娱乐公司), which was established to support the operation of casinos in Maijayang, the most famous of which was New Oriental Hotel (新东方大酒店), a well-known destination for Chinese gamblers back then (returned to below). In 2009, China pushed the Kachin authorities to crack down on the crime-riddled area, and eventually cut water, power, and phone signal that the area relied upon. This led to an exodus of Chinese from the area.

In 2006, Yongyuan Group’s financial director Dai Zhiwen was arrested in China. Police in Yunnan found that Yongyuan had established casinos in Myanmar that enticed Chinese nationals to illegally travel across the border to gamble. Criminal gangs in Kunming and Guangzhou set up mechanisms to facilitate the process by helping people to settle their gambling costs within China and avoid carrying cash across the border or making high-value international transactions that would be easily detected. During 2006, the illegal transfer of funds for gambling was valued at almost RMB 1 billion. The casinos established by Yongyuan operated multiple gambling halls in Myanmar, as well as online gambling websites for use by people located inside China. Dai was tried along with four other Yongyuan employees. The case had come to the attention of police in Yunnan after a man was found transporting methamphetamine on a bus to Kunming. Police found that he had transferred funds to an account that was ‘one of the many bank accounts that the chairman of Yongyuan Group had instructed his employees to open.’ On investigating the account, the police found a large number of high value transactions and began an investigation. In 2007, Dai Zhiwen was sentenced to seven years in jail, and the other four defendants to sentences between three and six years. The custodial sentences were slightly reduced on appeal.

In 2008, Kunming Intermediate People’s Court heard what Chinese media described as ‘the largest online gambling case since the founding of the People’s Republic of China’, involving over RMB 8.687 billion (around US$1.2 billion at the time). The central actors involved in the case were Hong Kong brothers Tan Zhiwei (谭志伟) and Tan Zhiman (谭志满). The case concerned New Oriental, which operated live gambling in Maijayang and Muguaba in Myanmar’s Kachin State and set up numerous websites targeting people inside China. Reports on the case mention Wang Yong’s role providing dealers to the casino. The Tan family had previously established a border casino on Jiangxin Island on the Ruili River in Dehong Prefecture, Yunnan Province, in 1999. This was closed down in 1999 following a police investigation and the Tans went on to invest in the New Oriental casinos in Myanmar.

According to China’s Procuratorate Daily (检察日报), police in China and Myanmar worked for 10 years gathering evidence on New Oriental’s casinos. The Tan brothers were sentenced to eight and five years, respectively, and 18 other defendants received custodial terms and fines, including the director of a branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in Ruili, Yunnan, who used his position to open hundreds of bank accounts to illegally facilitate the transfer of casino funds. From media reports on the case, it does not appear that Wang Yong was tried as part of the case. The patriarch of the Tan family, Tan Xiong (谭雄) was sentenced to four years in jail by a Hong Kong court in 2010 for his involvement in establishing New Oriental, arranging for Chinese gamblers to cross into Myanmar, and laundering proceeds through Hong Kong bank accounts.

A court judgement from 2015 sheds more light on the casino operations in Maijayang. On that occasion, a court in Heilongjiang found a man named Li and three others guilty of involvement in operating illegal casinos in Myanmar. The defendants worked for various casinos in the Maijayang Special Economic Zone. According to the judgement, an unnamed man ‘originally from Dianbai County, Guangdong Province, now a national of Cambodia’ acquired rights to develop and operate the zone in 2002. It also states that this individual set up the Yongyuan Football Company (永源足球公司) in the zone in 2006, providing betting services for global football matches. Although he is not named in the judgement, this description fits Wang Yong. This individual established the Maijayang Development Zone Management Committee (迈扎央开发区管委会) to manage companies operating in the zone. Five companies were set up under the committee, including Maida Entertainment Company (迈达娱乐总公司), Yongyuan Football Company (永源足球公司) and Maida Oriental Company (迈达东方公司). Between 2002 and 2010, these companies rented out space and managed casinos and gambling halls operating in-person and online gambling.

In 2009, Yongyuan Group reportedly closed all of its Myanmar casinos apart from the one in Pangkham, and Wang Yong focussed his attention on Laos and Cambodia. In Laos, the Yongyuan Group website includes the Dansavanh International Entertainment Resort (丹萨旺国际娱乐度假村) in its project portfolio.

Wang Yong has made numerous donations to the Cambodian Red cross, making regular donations on World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, including donations of US$20,000 in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Bavet Moc Bai Casino also donated Covid-19 prevention materials to the Svay Rieng provincial government in 2021.

Wang Yong donation to Cambodian Red Cross, May 2020. Source: Fresh News.

Connections to Yunnan Businessman Dong Lecheng

The 2015 court judgement mentioned above states that the unnamed Cambodian citizen (possibly Wang Yong), Dong Lecheng (董勒成), and Hong Konger Tan Guangtou (谭光头) established the Maida Oriental Company (迈达东方公司) in 2006. Operating until 2009, the company rented out and managed gambling halls. Dong Lecheng is a Chinese-born businessman who acquired Cambodian citizenship in 2014 and is connected to the Jinshui compound, as discussed in our profile here. The five defendants involved in the 2015 criminal trial were from Dehong Prefecture, Yunnan Province (Dong Lecheng’s hometown) and Dianbai County, Maoming City, Guangdong Province (Wang Yong’s hometown).

Dong Lecheng has a range of business interests in Cambodia, including JC International Airlines. Wang Yong was present at a ceremony in 2017 marking the arrival of JC Airlines’ new planes in Phnom Penh, as was Cambodian Senator Kok An and Chinese fugitive Xu Aimin, both of whom are linked to the Kaibo compound, profiled here.

JC Airlines celebrates the arrival of new planes in Phnom Penh, February 2017. Xu Aimin, Senator Kok An, Dong Lecheng, and Wang Yong circled. Source:Yunnan Jingcheng.
JC Airlines celebrates the arrival of new planes in Phnom Penh, February 2017. Senator Kok An, Wang Yong, Dong Lecheng, and Xu Aimin circled. Source: China Civil Aviation News.

Taipei 101 – An Online Gambling Hub

Bavet Moc Bai Casino has links to several online gaming companies, the most visible of which is Taipei 101. As mentioned earlier, the company Taipei 101 is marked on Google Maps in the compound north of Bavet Moc Bai Casino. Following the escape of Vietnamese workers in September, a reporter from Tuổi Trẻ visited the place and identified an area behind Bavet Moc Bai Casino that was fenced off and guarded, and only accessible to people with swipe cards. In one photo from this report, a tuktuk can be seen with an advert for Taipei 101 on the back.

Entrance to secure compound area inside Moc Bai complex. Taipei 101 advert visible on tuktuk. Tuổi Trẻ Online.

Taipei 101 has multiple websites, and numerous Facebook pages carry the Tapei 101 brand. Its websites are frequently taken offline, and during the course of researching and writing this profile at least three sites went offline and new ones were identified by the authors (several of the references included below link to pages from dead websites captured on Wayback Machine). One website describes the company as one of Asia’s largest online casino gaming groups, with business in Cambodia, Philippines, Dubai, and Singapore. Another describes it as an online entertainment company, which recruits Vietnamese to work in Cambodia and claims to have 3,000 employees. The company covers air tickets, visas, and ‘customs clearance fees’, and employees are given accommodation and meals—a common set up for online gambling and fraud companies that rely on migrant employees. A promotional video for the company shows a bustling office in Cambodia with workers busy chatting on computers and phones, managing a range of Facebook pages, and with various online gaming pages open on their desktops. Photos of inside the office also appear on Taipei 101 websites.

Taipei 101 websites state that the company headquarters is at Bavet Moc Bai Casino, from where it operates five gambling sites: 789BET, NEW88, JUN88, F8BET, and SHBET. Elsewhere the company also mentions the sites HI88, MOTO88, SUN Win, YO 88 and KU789. Several Facebook pages carrying the Taipei 101 name include photos of groups of Vietnamese nationals crossing the border with suitcases, along with photos showing stacks of passports, covid vaccination papers, and other documents. In several pictures the groups pose holding signs for Taipei 101 and the various online gambling sites they will work for. Usually the people in the pictures are wearing masks or have their faces pixelated. Recruitment ads carrying the Taipei 101 logo are posted on many Facebook business and personal pages, along with logos of its gambling sites, and images of Bavet Moc Bai Casino. These ads continue to be posted months after Cambodia’s crackdown on online gambling commenced in August 2022.

Group in border area holding signs of Taipei 101 and its gambling sites. Source: Tập Đoàn Taipei101 Tuyển Dụng Nhân Sự Facebook.

Recruitment ad for Taipei 101. Source: Huỳnh Nguyễn Yến Chinh Facebook.

Recruitment ad for Taipei 101. Source: Việc làm tại Campuchia & Philippines Facebook.

Recruitment ad for Taipei 101. Source: Huỳnh Nguyễn Yến Chinh Facebook.

Image from Taipei 101 recruitment ad displaying several of its gambling site brands. Source: 789 Bet – Tuyển Dụng Nhân Sự Facebook.

Inside Taipei 101. Source: Tập Đoàn Taipei101 Tuyển Dụng Nhân Sự Facebook.

On its websites, Tapei 101 presents itself as a responsible company in a sea of unscrupulous actors, warning jobseekers to look out for recruitment scams. It offers ‘high paying jobs’ in a range of roles and states that no experience is required beyond basic computer proficiency and typing. It even published a news story on one site telling the story of a woman who travelled to Cambodia for work, but on arrival found she was hired by a ‘black company’ that would not let her leave the building, did not pay as promised, and demanded a fee when she asked to leave. She heard about working conditions at Taipei 101 and approached them for an interview. She was offered the job, and Taipei 101 ‘compensated’ the previous company, after which she switched jobs. The website’s FAQ page states that if employees quit, they will have to pay official expenses and ‘compensation costs from other companies’, if there are any, but the fee will be waived if an employee stays for six months. A review of Taipei 101 on Google Maps states ‘Salary and benefits are very good, the company does not lock the door’.

The company is mentioned as a fraudulent or ‘scam’ company on several online message boards. Taipei 101 has denied this on at least one of its websites. On another of its websites on a page titled ‘Is Taipei 101 a Reputable Company?’, it states that it allows employees to move freely, never sells employees, and does not hold their passports. The FAQ page mentioned earlier responds to the question ‘If I can’t perform, will I be sold to another company?’ by saying the company prohibits human trafficking, and unhappy staff need only write a resignation letter.

The Taipei 101 websites found by the authors are actively recruiting, despite the 2019 ban on online gambling in Cambodia and the ongoing crackdown.

Taipei 101 website recruitment for ‘Sales’ staff in Moc Bai, closing date 31 December 2022. Source: Taipei 101 website.

The authors were unable to confirm the ownership and place of registration of Taipei 101, but it mainly targets Vietnamese online gamblers through its various gaming brands. Its 789 Bet brand also targets the Thai market. In a PR piece posted on several marketing websites in January 2023, 789bet states that it started targeting the Vietnamese market in 2020, and ‘is present’ in more than 50 countries including China, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore. 789bet lists its address in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, but in its PR says ‘789bet Casino is an online betting playground of the famous M.A.N Entertainment group, founded in 2006 and headquartered in Manila Philippines.’ No further information could be found on this company.

Although its background is murky, it appears to have some clout in the football gambling industry, and in November 2022, Uruguayan footballer Luis Suarez became a brand ambassador for 789. A video of the signing is viewable here. Subsequent posts promoting 789 Bet on Suarez’ Facebook page targeted both Thai and Vietnamese World Cup viewers. Suarez also features prominently on at least one of Taipei 101’s websites.

789 Bet and Luis Suarez sign cooperation agreement, November 2022. Source: Luis Suarez Facebook.
789 Bet and Luis Suarez Facebook content targeting Thai gamblers, November 2022. Source: Luis Suarez Facebook.
789 Bet and Luis Suarez Facebook content targeting Vietnamese gamblers, November 2022. Source: Luis Suarez Facebook.
One of Tapei 101’s websites includes a banner slideshow featuring Luis Suarez. Source: Taipei 101 website.

A Taipei 101 recruitment profile on Facebook reveals that Taipei 101 is located in buildings that are managed by the above-mentioned Dong Fang Property Management Co., Ltd. (东方物业管理有限公司). In one photo, the ID badge of a Taipei 101 recruiter shows the logos of both Dong Fang and Yongyuan. The September 2019 letter from Dong Fang that is discussed in the first section of the profile is signed by Dong Fang and Yongyuan. As noted earlier, Dongfang (or ‘Oriental’) was the name that Wang Yong used for some of his casino businesses in Myanmar. Dong Fang Property Management does not appear in Cambodia’s business registry.

ID badge of Taipei 101 recruiter carries name of Dong Fang Property Management and logo of Yongyuan below the person’s thumb. Source: Tuyển dụng việc làm Taipei 101 Facebook.

The map below shows the various buildings identified as potentially linked to Bavet Moc Bai Casino. The public-facing Bavet Moc Bai Casino building itself is linked to the adjacent Venus Casino, suggesting the two are connected. There is a Google Map pin for Casino Mộc Bài 789Bet ‘employment centre’ located at the Venus Casino Hotel. Taipei 101 is marked on Google Maps over a large, 2.2-hectare block of plain buildings a few hundred metres north of Bavet Moc Bai Casino, as is Taipei101 – 789Bet. Two other building complexes can be identified from Taipei 101 recruitment ads and websites, as noted in the map below.

Locations identified as having potential links to Bavet Moc Bai Casino.

Location of Bavet Moc Bai Casino

Links to Other Compounds, Companies, and Individuals  

Bavet Moc Bai Casino is part of the Yongyuan Group, which also owns the Yongyuan Casino in Kandal Province (see profile here). U Wang Young is chairman of both, and the two casinos share other senior executives. Yongyuan Group’s website includes both the Bavet Moc Bai Casino and Yongyuan Casino on its project page.
Bavet Moc Bai Casino’s owner, Wang Yong, has appeared publicly in Cambodia with Dong Lecheng, and both were part of the same network of actors involved in illegal cross-border gambling on the northern Myanmar-China border in the 2000s. Dong Lecheng is linked to the Jinshui compound in Sihanoukville (see profile here).  

Bavet Moc Bai Casino in the News


23 December: ‘7名泰国人脸书直播求助 称被骗来柬从事电诈 [7 Thais Asked for Help Live on Facebook, Saying They Were Tricked into Cambodia to Engage in Tele-Fraud].’ 柬中时报 [Cambodia-China Times]. Link.

            Chinese-language media report on the escape of seven Thais from the Moc Bai area.

21 December: ‘Thais Rescued from Call Scammers After Live-Streaming for Help’. Bangkok Post. Link.

Seven Thais who live-streamed that they had been duped into working for a scam gang in Cambodia to swindle Thai nationals have been rescued and returned to Thailand.

20 December: ‘7 Thais Escape Slave Conditions at Call Centre in Cambodia’. The Nation. Link.

Seven Thais released from call centre facility at 5am after their Chinese bosses learned that they had sought help via Facebook. The victims then took a tuk-tuk to the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh to seek help to return home.

27 October: Mech, Dara. ‘Bavet Compound Workers Flee Country through River, Rice Fields.’ Voice of Democracy. Link.

Hundreds of foreign workers who were set free from Svay Rieng casinos fled the country into Vietnam via rice fields and across a stream, according to local police. This followed a crackdown on compounds in the area, including those behind the Bavet Moc Bai Casino.

26 October: Mech, Dara. ‘Chaotic Scenes in Bavet amid Apparent Exodus.’ Voice of Democracy. Link.

Foreign workers threw rocks at buses as passengers tried to break out of them, according to police, as locals spoke of hundreds daily leaving alleged scam compounds in Svay Rieng’s border city of Bavet. With looming crackdown in the city, workers clear out of compounds including Bavet Moc Bai.

21 October: ‘2 Injured After Drug and Gun Carrying Foreigners Crash into Their House.’ Khmer Times. Link.

Two people were seriously injured when a car carrying two Chinese and a Vietnamese national crashed into the house of a village chief while driving at high speed. The people in the car were employees of Bavet Moc Bai Casino, and police found a Glock pistol and methamphetamine in the car.

11 October: Mech, Dara and Michael Dickison. ‘Echoes of Sihanoukville Troubles in Cambodian Border Town.’ Voice of Democracy. Link.

Dozens of buses arrive in Bavet packed with workers who were likely displaced by the crackdown on online compounds that began in Sihanoukville in August to September. Many stopped at the compounds surrounding the Bavet Moc Bai Casino.

21 September: Phuoc, Tuan. ‘Escapees from Cambodian Casinos Burst into Tears after Returning to Vietnam.’ VnExpress. Link.

Around 7am, buses carrying 71 Vietnamese workers arrived at Moc Bai International Border Gate in Vietnam’s Tay Ninh Province. They had tried to escape a casino in Bavet Town of SvayRieng last Saturday. The casino lies around one kilometre from the border gate.

21 September: Dan, Tan and Tuan Chau. ‘Thai phụ tháo chạy khỏi casino ở Campuchia: ‘Tôi không nghĩ mình còn đường về nước’ [Pregnant Woman Flees Casino in Cambodia: “I Didn’t Think I Had a Way Back Home”].’ Tuổi Trẻ Online. Link.

Interview with a pregnant woman and her husband, who unsuccessfully tried to escape an online compound four days prior but were recaptured. The company holding them handed them over to the police later the same day.

20 September: Dan, Tan and Tuan Chau. ‘Trở lại nơi hàng chục lao động Việt tháo chạy khỏi casino ở Campuchia [Return to Where Dozens of Vietnamese Workers Fled the Casino in Cambodia].’ Tuổi Trẻ Online. Link.

Tuổi Trẻ reporter goes to location of escape of Vietnamese workers from online compound at Moc Bai compound three days prior.

20 September: Kim, Sarom. ‘Svay Rieng Police Investigate Latest Casino “Escape”.’ The Phnom Penh Post. Link.

Police in Bavet town questioned more than 50 Vietnamese employees at Moc Bai Casino to establish the circumstances that led to a dramatic escape from their workplace on 17 September.

19 September: Ouch, Sony and Danielle Keeton-Olsen ‘60 Vietnamese Escape Bavet-Moc Bai Casino.’ Voice of Democracy. Link.

More than 60 Vietnamese nationals attempted to flee a Bavet city casino, as regional media report more arrests and raids tied to forced labour and fraud operations in Cambodia.

17 September: ‘Hơn 50 người Việt tháo chạy khỏi casino Campuchia [More than 50 Vietnamese People Fled Cambodia Casino].’ VnExpress. Link.

A group of Vietnamese workers who fled a casino in Bavet town, Svay Rieng Province, near the Moc Bai border gate detained by Cambodian authorities on afternoon of 17 September.

17 September: ‘Over 50 Vietnamese Flee Cambodia Casino.’ VnExpress. Link.

A group of over 50 Vietnamese workers who fled a casino in Cambodia’s Svay Rieng province near Moc Bai border gate caught by Cambodian authorities.

17 September: Vu, Anh. ‘Cambodia Casino Releases 11 Vietnamese Citizens.’ VnExpress. Link.

A casino in Cambodia handed over 11 Vietnamese citizens to local authorities after 56 of their brethren escaped the facility earlier that day.

21 July: ‘បុគ្គលិកកាស៊ីណូខូចចិត្ត លោតសម្លាប់ខ្លួនពីជាន់ទី៨ [Broken Casino Employee Commits Suicide by Jumping from 8th floor].’ Nokor Thom Daily. Link.

Vietnamese man died after jumping from the eighth floor of an apartment building in the compound of Bavet Mocai Casino.

7 July: Dara, Mech, Sen Nguyen, and Michael Dickison. ‘Inside a Scam: White-Hat Hacker Infiltrates Cambodian Scam Operations.’ Voice of Democracy. Link.

A report compiled in 2021 by Vietnamese former-hacker Ngo Minh Hieu documents allegations about global scam operations based in Cambodian compounds marked by detention, debt slavery, and violence. Includes reference to appeal for help from Vietnamese man duped into working at Moc Bai Casino.

4 July: Dara, Mech. ‘Murder at Bavet Moc Bai Casino: Commune Police.’ Voice of Democracy. Link.

Chinese man killed over a US$3,000 debt at Moc Bai Casino.


27 October: ‘សមត្ថកិច្ចកងរាជអាវុធហត្ថខេត្តស្វាយរៀងរំដោះជនរងគ្រោះជនជាតិវៀតណាម១៣នាក់ពីក្រុមឧក្រិដ្ឋជនចាប់បង្ខាំងនៅក្នុងកាស៊ីម៉ុកបាយក្រុងបាវិត [Svay Rieng Provincial Police Release 13 Vietnamese Victims from Captors in Bavet City].’ Khmer Cover TV. Link.

Thirteen Vietnamese nationals rescued from Bavet Moc Bai Casino. Their captors demanded a fee for their release, and after they contacted family members for money they alerted the authorities, leading to their rescue by Cambodian provincial military police. The youngest victim was a 16-year-old girl and the oldest a 28-year-old man. All were repatriated to Vietnam the following day.


27 September: ‘សមត្ថកិច្ចត្រួតពិនិត្យអាគារស្នាក់នៅ របស់ក្រុមហ៊ុនកាស៊ីណូបាវិត ម៉ុកបាយ រកឃើញជនជាតិចិន៥៣នាក់ មានដីកាចាប់ខ្លួន៣នាក់ [Police Inspect Bavet Moc Bai Casino Premises and Find 53 Chinese Nationals With Three Arrest Warrants].’ Post News. Link.

Department of Internal Security working with immigration department, provincial police, and provincial deputy prosecutor inspected apartment building at Bavet Moc Bai Casino and arrested 53 Chinese nationals.

22 August: ‘柬中警方联合执法 在巴域扣捕365名中国人 [Cambodian and Chinese Police Joint Law Enforcement Detains 365 Chinese in Bavet].’ 柬中时报 [Cambodia-China Times]. Link.

In a joint operation between Cambodian and Chinese police, raid in Moc Bai leads to arrest of 365 Chinese, 27 of whom were wanted fugitives, along with one Vietnamese national. A further 339 were detained pending investigation.


13 January: ‘ជម្លោះរវាងបុគ្គលិកជនជាតិចិនដីគោក និងខ្មែរ​នៅ​កាស៊ីណូ «ម៉ុក​បាយ» ចាប់ខ្លួន​៤នាក់, ជនជាតិចិន​ជាង២០​នាក់ ចេញមក​វាយ​រថយន្ត​សមត្ថកិច្ច​បែក​កញ្ចក់ខ្ទេច [Dispute between Mainland Chinese and Khmer Staff at “Moc Bai” Casino Leads to Four Arrests, More than 20 Chinese People Came Out to Beat the Police Car, Shattered Glass].’ Fresh News. Link

Dispute between Cambodian and Chinese staff at Bavet Moc Bai Casino escalated and led to serious injury of Chinese national. Over 20 Chinese workers came out and attacked the police car that took away suspects.

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