Sunday, May 06, 2012

Is Phnom Penh Really Being Overrun By Filipino Blackjack Gangs?

An article I wrote for Khmer 440...

I take everything I read in the Phnom Penh Post with a large bucket of salt, especially after noticing it couldn’t even get the date right on the front page a couple of months back. I’ve had fun spotting appalling errors like “insert byline here” in big bold print where a reporter’s name should be – perhaps indicating that even the subs don’t read the paper.

But it’s not just the subs. Far from it. A story this week must have left readers with the impression that if you take even a few steps down the riverside area, you’ll be pestered by armies of gangsters trying to scalp you of thousands of dollars in rigged blackjack games.

It appears you can’t walk anywhere in the capital’s tourist spots without some kindly member of a Filipino crime syndicate complimenting you on your sunglasses or choice of ice cream, and before you know it you’re hypnotised into a tuk tuk.

Generally, the fraudster will make up a story about how his (insert relative) is heading to your country and could you give some advice/assurance to (insert relative) while enjoying a lovely meal at their home. Then you’ll be hoodwinked into a game of cards upstairs, frogmarched to a bank to pay off your losses, and end up walking home without your shirt.

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