Large COVID-19 Outbreak Tied to Kings Romans Casino
The Kings Romans casino in Laos has been reportedly connected to a recent widespread outbreak of COVID-19.
Around the world, casino operators have done their very best to stop any COVID-19 outbreaks from taking place. From mask wearing and social distancing, to deep cleaning, several steps are taken on a daily basis to protect the employees and guests of a facility, as well as help keep the venue open for business. However, in one venue in Laos, it seems illegal behavior has led to an outbreak of the virus. The Kings Roman casino has been connected to a huge outbreak. The casino’s owner has been accused by the US of trafficking people, as well as drugs and wildlife.
Illegally Bringing Foreigners In
According to officials in Laos, several cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Tonpheung district. The cases have been traced back to people who entered the region illegally. Lockdown rules were ignored, which led to the influx of cases.
Locals have been accused of bringing foreigners into the region illegally, using Thailand and Myanmar as their entry points. Over the past few weeks, cases of the virus have increased in Laos as well as other areas of Southeast Asia. Vientiane, the capital of Laos, has been particularly ridden with the virus.
The borders of Laos have been closed since 2020 in an effort to stop the virus from spreading. However, according to sources who spoke with CNN, there are still couriers that are bringing people into the country illegally.
A former travel agent told CNN that even though people are not supposed to cross into Laos, they are doing it illegally with the help of couriers. Casino employees from Thailand as well as tourists are reportedly crossing into Laos. Some employees are risking the illegal trek to keep their jobs while others are not traveling at all and won’t do so until the COVID-19 situation improves.
Other sources say that the bars and nightclubs next to the casino have reportedly been catering to guests. The venues were ordered by officials to close back in April due to the influx of positive cases taking place.
King’s Romans Casino Illegal Ties
The King’s Romans casino operates in a territory that is managed by Zhao Wei of China. The Treasury Department in the United States say that Zhao is involved in criminal activity. He uses the area to conduct child prostitution, illegal wildlife trading, and drug trafficking.
Zhao says the allegations are not true and that he just wants to invest in the region and transform the area into a true tourist destination. The region in which he operates is known as the Golden Triangle and is a semi-lawless area. It is home to a large production of heroin and methamphetamine.
The local district is reliant on the Golden Triangle due to the casino operations as well as tourists that come in to the area. People are not supposed to be coming in as they normally would due to the virus, but apparently illegal actions are being taken to transport tourist across the Mekong River.
The casino and Zhao were sanctioned back in 2018 by the United States government for allegedly drug activity and other crimes. With the sanctions, Zhao was not able to access the financial system in the state, and any funds he had in the country were frozen.
Based on the history of Zhao, it would not be surprising to find illegal activity taking place regarding tourists and casino employees. As investigations continue, we expect to hear more about any illegal movement into Laos and just how the casino might be connected, if at all.