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Article

19 Jul 2021

Author:
THE IRRAWADDY

Myanmar: China-backed Shwe Kokko new city project, previously suspended, restarts hiring following February coup

"Chinese Casino City in Myanmar Recruiting Despite COVID-19 Crisis", 19 July 2021

Amid Myanmar’s COVID-19 spike, the developer of the controversial China-backed Shwe Kokko new city project near the Thai border in Karen State has been recruiting staff, prompting fears over a rise in cross-border crime.

The Irrawaddy has been told the developer, which is run by Chinese investors accused of running illegal casinos in Cambodia and the Philippines, has been recruiting a manager for a five-star hotel, human resources manager, an accountant and gardeners this month. The jobs have been advertised on Chinese-language sites. [...]

The US$15-billion (25 trillion kyats) “Myanmar Yatai Shwe Kokko Special Economic Zone” is due to cover nearly 12,100 hectares, stretching 19km along the border.

The project was suspended after the ousted National League for Democracy government formed a tribunal to investigate irregularities, an alleged lack of transparency, land confiscations, confusion over the scale of construction, an influx of Chinese money, suspected illicit activity and residents’ concerns about the social impacts of the casinos.

Following the February coup, activity at Shwe Koko appeared to revive, including hiring new staff and restarting gambling, according to a resident. [...]

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