The government has formed a national task force to combat all kinds of illegal gambling in the Kingdom. The decision was taken at the request of the Ministry of the Interior.

According to the decision taken on September 16 and signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the task force is composed of 12 members and is headed by the Minister of the Interior Secretary of State Sok Phall.

According to the letter, this working group is responsible for planning and principle strategies and can give instructions to the authorities to implement measures to combat all kinds of illegal gambling.

The task force will also work with relevant authorities at national and sub-national levels to investigate and combat illegal gambling.

They also have the right to investigate crimes of human trafficking, labor exploitation, sex trafficking and money laundering crimes and all other types of crimes that have occurred or are alleged to occur in casinos or in connection with illegal gambling.

Following the announcement of the decision, Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 also instructed authorities at all levels to tackle these crimes. He said the game should not interrupt government efforts for national development if provincial and local authorities take action against them responsibly.

“The national task force cannot go wherever the crimes are happening, no matter if a hundred task forces have been set up, the national task force is entirely dependent on local authorities. It depends on local authorities such as commune, district and provincial police,” he said. “What’s important is whether you want to do it or not.”

“I have given the absolute order to fight these crimes in a timely manner and without exception. I will not hesitate to depose a provincial or capital governor, a district governor or a police officer at any level, who does not do his job responsibly. We cannot let this lawless situation continue,” he said.

Hun Sen said there was gambling like cockfighting and other types in some localities, but the police and local authorities just ignored it. He wondered if these local gambling dens paid bribes to the police and local authorities.

He also called on local businesses to stop providing gambling services or face permanent closure, saying gambling contributes to crimes that render the “safe village, safe commune” principle ineffective.

“I am also calling on our people to stop gambling. They must stop gambling. This is about protecting your property rather than throwing it into gambling dens and getting into debt and then having to migrate to work overseas, while causing conflict within families,” he said.