The body of one of 41 Vietnamese people who swam across a border river to return to Vietnam’s southwestern An Giang Province after fleeing a casino in Cambodia has been found on the river, local authorities reported on Saturday.
An Giang’s rescue forces had found the body of D.M.H., a 16-year-old man who was reported missing during his cross-border swim along with 40 others as they fled Rich World Casino due to overwork and unpaid jobs, said Colonel Vo Phuc Tho, head of the provincial fire and rescue police.
The casino is located in Sampeou Pou Commune of Kaoh Thom District in Cambodia’s Kandal Province, which borders An Giang of Vietnam.
The body of the deceased, a native of Kon Tum Province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, will be handed over to his family after all necessary procedures, including an autopsy, are completed, Tho said.
Authorities of An Giang’s An Phu District, where 40 Vietnamese arrived after their escape, have provided food, water and other essential items to them, said Tran Hoa Hop, chairman of An Phu’s administration.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday requested Cambodian authorities to investigate the cause of the escape and assist in the search for H., said the ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang.
“The ministry has directed the Vietnamese representative missions in Cambodia to contact local authorities to clarify the case and inspect this casino,” Hang told reporters, adding the agency has urgently deployed citizen protection measures.
The agency also requested the Cambodian side to investigate the cause of the escape.
“The ministry will continue following up the case as well as monitoring the current situation of Vietnamese workers in Cambodia in general, and will promptly take necessary measures to protect their safety and ensure their legitimate rights and interests,” Hang affirmed.
Earlier on Thursday morning, Vietnamese border guards in An Giang detained the aforementioned 40 Vietnamese when they illegally entered Vietnam by swimming across the Binh Di River, a natural borderline between Vietnam and Cambodia.
One more Vietnamese man, N.T.H., 25, a native of the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, also joined the escape but he was held back by the casino’s guards, the national radio station Voice of Vietnam reported.
Nine of the 40 detainees were slightly injured during their escape and received treatment from medical workers in the province’s An Phu District.
All these people have been tested negative for COVID-19, local health authorities said.
The unlawful returnees said they had fled from the casino, where their jobs involved monitoring online games, as they were unpaid despite working overtime to the extent that they were not allowed to rest.
After planning, they took advantage of an opportunity to run out of the casino gate and then swam across the river that morning.
The escapees hailed from northern, central, Central Highlands and southwestern localities of Vietnam, local police reported.
On the afternoon of August 19, An Giang’s administration had a working session with the Cambodian side to discuss the protection of Vietnamese workers working at the casino.
Vietnam and Cambodia share a common land borderline that is about 1,245 km long and runs through nine Cambodian localities and 10 Vietnamese provinces, including An Giang, Kien Giang, Dong Thap, Long An, Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Kon Tum and Gia Lai.
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