No matter how you slice it, $131 billion is a lot of money.
And that’s the total of foreign direct investment – actual, pledged and on-the-table for discussion – by China in neighboring Cambodia, says a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The money flow is raising questions.
Some of the funds are going to the building of casinos. In fact, sources say, thousands of Chinese nationals are already flocking to Sihanoukville, Cambodia, to build them and work in them. These casinos offer online gambling – mostly in China. In fact, the existing casinos are reportedly mostly empty of gamblers.
Even more interesting is that gambling is illegal in China – online or off. It’s also illegal for Chinese citizens to gamble abroad and to build casinos outside the country.
It’s hard to believe this seeming contradiction between Chinese laws and actions has gone unnoticed, especially considering the massive scale of Chinese investment.
So, what’s going on? Why is the Chinese government apparently turning a blind eye to this flouting of its own laws?
Cambodia is one of the last countries on Earth that launders “dirty” money and makes it “clean.”
There are even rumors that thousands of Cambodian passports will be sold to Chinese nationals. Could Cambodia be scamming China? Or do both sides know what’s going on? And, if not money laundering on a massive scale, what’s up?
Just last month, two major Chinese property and construction firms pledged new capital investment totaling $7 billion in Cambodia’s infrastructure, tourism, construction and financial sectors. The announcement followed discussions in Beijing between Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cheng Risheng, the chairman of Henan Transport Investment Group and Zhang Yuling, the chairman of Greenland Holding Group.
The new projects include an expressway between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, the construction of another satellite city and the establishment of a tourism center and a new nationwide commercial bank.
Note the emphasis on “tourism.” Cambodia is not noted for its “tourism” industry other than for Chinese citizens. And “tourism” is often a polite word for gambling.
How big has all this been for Cambodia?
As a result of two decades of consistent economic growth, Cambodia’s economy lifted from a least-developed country status into the bracket of lower-middle income nations, such as Vietnam and India.