Recently, the Kings Romans connected business empire in Laos resumed the construction on a controversial airport. The move is expected to boost the tourist inflow. However, this move has been quite controversial because the gaming property owners have earned a negative reputation for human trafficking, money laundering, and illegal trading.
The construction of this airport was halted back in 2017 after some concerns were shown by residents. But last week, the work resumed and is expected to finish by 2022.
Zhao Wei, the owner of Kings Romans Casino and the chairman of the Dok Ngiew Kham Group, is also an owner of the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Bokeo.
The US Treasury Department designated Kings Romans Casino and its parent company as a “transnational criminal organization” in 2018. The US Treasury Department sanctioned Zhao and others in Laos, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
According to Radio Free Asia, the airport’s developers allegedly offered compensation payments to property owners in the airport’s vicinity.
Although many residents welcomed the decision of building an airport that would increase tourism, some questioned the decision.
This airport is unnecessary because the town of Houayxay in Bokeo province already has one,” the unidentified person told Radio Free Asia. “The aim of building this airport by Dok Ngiew Kham Group is to serve the rich who want to visit the casino and gamble.”
Alleged Prostitution and Drug Activities
According to one worker in the Golden Triangle, the area is completely free. It is an open zone having all kinds of tourist entertainment activities along with drug activities and prostitution.
The worker claims that the wildlife animals like tiger and bear wine are served in the restaurant’s VIP rooms.
Adosorn Semyam, affiliated with Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University’s Asia Studies Institute, predicts that the airport will service Chinese passengers. It might also be utilized in Bokeo for illicit drug trafficking.
Meanwhile, Zhao Wei denied the charges made by the Treasury Department. Wei claims to be a businessman who wants to develop the region as a tourist attraction.