Signs in Thai (L) and Mandarin adorn a street in Poipet. Photograph supplied
A casino in the gambling hub of Poipet was told on Monday to remove celebratory Chinese New Year banners – strung across an adjacent public road – because they were written in Thai and Mandarin rather than Khmer.
Poipet town governor Ngor Meng Chroun ordered that the owners of the Star Vegas Casino remove the banners, which failed, he said, to appropriately celebrate Cambodian national identity.
Owners of the casino had removed the offending banners on February 4 after officials spoke with them, the governor added.
Banteay Meanchey provincial spokesman Uk Keo Ratanak said the banners should have been written in all three languages – Khmer, Mandarin and Thai – but Khmer should have been featured most prominently.
“If they are foreigners living in Cambodia, they should respect Cambodian laws,” he said. “They should write in large Khmer letters above and then in foreign languages below.”
Though fairly common across the country, it is technically illegal for Cambodian citizens to gamble in the Kingdom’s casinos.
A casino department manager, who asked not to be named, noted that the owners of the Star Vegas Casino are Thai, as are many of the establishment’s customers, which likely motivated the choice of languages.
Sy Saroun, chief of the provincial culture department, said that any signage adorning the province’s public spaces in the future must be written in Khmer – if not, authorities will demand it be taken down.
Star Vegas Casino’s owners could not be contacted yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Sarom at firstname.lastname@example.org