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19 Oct 2020

Max Avary & Eugene Whong, Radio Free Asia

Chinese casino operator sanctioned by the US Treasury Dept. for transnational crimes including human trafficking builds port in Laos' economic zone

"Chinese Casino Kingpin Behind New Mekong Port to Serve Golden Triangle SEZ in Laos", 7 October 2020

A developer owned by a controversial Chinese casino mogul the U.S. has designated a transnational crime boss is building a new port on the Mekong River in Laos near the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone, the latest Chinese-backed infrastructure project in the country, sources in Laos told RFA.

[...] Golden Kings Romans Group Chairman Zhao Wei [...] was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2018 as the head of a transnational criminal organization.

Zhao’s network engages in “drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, bribery, and wildlife trafficking, much of which is facilitated through the Kings Romans Casino,” the Treasury said.

Zhao in February 2018 dismissed the U.S. designation as “a unilateral, extraterritorial, unreasonable and hegemonic act of ulterior motives and malicious rumor-mongering.” He said his investments were all “legal, ordinary business operations supervised by the legal authorities of the relevant countries that have not harmed the interests of any country or individual.”


The zone where Laos, Thailand and Myanmar meet is described by critics as virtually a Chinese colony, with the casino, hotels and restaurants catering mainly to tourists from China and operating largely outside the reach of Lao law.