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Escapees from Cambodian casinos burst into tears after returning to Vietnam

By Phuoc Tuan   September 21, 2022 | 12:40 am PT
Vietnamese workers fleeing a casino in Cambodia's Svay Rieng Province last week returned home Wednesday, with some unable to hold back their emotions.
Vietnamese workers escaping or rescued from a Cambodian casino arrive at Moc Bai border gate in Tay Ninh Province, September 21, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van

Vietnamese workers escaping or rescued from a Cambodian casino arrive at Moc Bai border gate in Tay Ninh Province, September 21, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van

Around 7 a.m., 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 kilometer from the border gate.

Only 56 of them could get out while the rest were rescued later by Cambodian forces.

A woman named Hien from the southern province of Ca Mau broke into tears as soon as she got off the bus.

Hien wipes her tears as she arrives in Vietnams southern Tay Ninh Province after being rescued from a casino in Cambodia, September 21, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

Hien wipes her tears as she arrives in Vietnam's Tay Ninh Province after being rescued from a casino in Cambodia, September 21, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

She was one of those that could not escape along with others as she fell while running away. The casino then held her captive before authorities rescued her.

She had stayed in Cambodia for seven months and been sold to four different casinos.

Cong Thanh, 30, said when fleeing the casino, he could not bring along anything but his mobile phone.

"I'm so happy now that I'm home. I had to work 13 hours per day in the casino and was frequently beaten," he said.

Some of the escapees told VnExpress previously that they had been tricked and sold to the casino, where they were forced to work hard and live in poor conditions.

A representative of the Moc Bai border gate said each member of the group will have their identification verified before they are allowed to return to their hometown.

One of the 71 returnees at Moc Bai International Border Gate in Tay Ninh Province on September 21, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

One of the 71 returnees at Moc Bai International Border Gate in Tay Ninh Province on September 21, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

Cambodia had recently launched a series of raids on illegal casinos and business establishments, allowing many Vietnamese forced laborers to go home.

Cases of Vietnamese people working illegally in Cambodia started to draw public attention after 40 Vietnamese swam across the Binh Di River to escape from the Phoenix casino in Cambodia to Vietnam's An Giang Province on Aug. 18.

One of two other people who had also attempted to escape – a teenage boy – drowned in the river, while the other was captured by casino staff.

In the first half of this year, the Ministry of Public Security had busted several rings smuggling people to Cambodia for illegal work.

Authorities have rescued hundreds of Vietnamese citizens and supported thousands in Cambodia with procedures to return home.

 
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