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Gamblers undeterred by turmoil in Thailand

POLITICAL upheavals and rumours of a coup in Thailand have not kept gamblers from flocking across the border into Cambodia to try their luck at Poipet's casinos, officials say.

Kong Bunly, deputy director of the Commerce Office in Banteay Meanchey province, said that tourists are still crossing through to Cambodia in large numbers.

"People do not seem to care about the border standoff  or the political chaos in Bangkok. People from both countries are busy doing business."  

Since two international airports in Thailand were occupied by anti-government protestors, thousands of tourists have crossed into Cambodia by land through Poipet.  

Pich Saran, chief of immigration police at the  Poipet international border checkpoint, said that casino traffic has been brisk.

"I don't see the people stopping their business ... Thai people normally are still coming to gamble. They see this as an inter-government problem"  he said.  

Sok Monyreoun, manager of Ho Wah Genting Poipet Casino and Resort, said that he has only seen a 10 percent drop in business since the Bangkok airport occupations. He usually receives about 500 to 600 visitors per day.

"About 80 percent of my customers are from Thailand, especially from Bangkok, and 20 percent are from Malaysia. I expected the chaos to be more harmful, but the impact seems small," he said.

He added that his casino has started to increase its bus service from Bangkok, and to offer special deals to new customers in an effort to boost revenues. 

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