Rail link planned between Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia's casino kingdom

By Minh Minh   February 7, 2018 | 11:50 pm PT
The 250km route will be part of a larger network that also connects Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and China.

Transport officials from Vietnam and Cambodia have agreed to push forward with a plan to build a railway between Ho Chi Minh City and Bavet, home to a special economic zone and a casino kingdom.

The plan was revealed this week at a meeting between Cambodian Transport Minister Sun Chanthol and Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat.

Sun said the two governments are currently working on a feasibility study and looking for private investment, according to the Khmer Times. The Bavet-HCMC line will be around 250km long, shorter than a previously planned line from Binh Phuoc Province that was scrapped due to high costs.

Nhat told VnExpress the proposed rail link is meant to connect Cambodia with Vietnam's rail network. "This is Cambodia's suggestion and we are studying it but first we have to improve our domestic railways," he said.

The new link will also be part of a region-wide railway to connect Singapore to China’s Yunnan Province via Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, Sun said, as cited in the report.

Bavet is the largest city in Svay Rieng Province and one of Cambodia’s special economic zones. It is home to textile and bicycle factories, but its core business is casinos that are often frequented by Vietnamese gamblers who are not allowed to place their bets at home.

Cambodia and Vietnam are also planning an expressway linking Phnom Penh with HCMC, Vietnam's commercial hub.

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