Despite a series of border security meetings between Thai and Myanmar top military officers, purportedly aimed at cracking down on Myawaddy-based illegal online casinos, these businesses are reportedly operating without disruption, expanding their workforces, and hiring new workers on a daily basis, according to a member of staff from an employment agency.
In reality the top military on both sides of the border are steeped in complicity with these
overseas Chinese-run syndicate according to local soruces.The Myanmar Junta has long been facilitating these syndicate and China has already expressed anger with the Military Councils lack of cooperation in northern Shan State. This was a major factor in the spectacular success of the 1027 anti-Junta offensive which also led to nearly all the cyber-scam operations were shut down with the approval of mainland China.
The employment agency source in Myawaddy told KIC,” These businesses are actively recruiting new employees for roles such as croupiers, participating in online scamming activities, and handling casino accounting. To prepare individuals for these positions, we provide training in computer usage, card-sharing techniques, and, if needed, offer English and Chinese classes. Upon completion of the relevant basic training, we facilitate connections and dispatch of those individuals to locations where new employees are required.
Salaries typically range from 8000 to 25,000 THB. Despite rumors of impending crackdowns, these businesses continue to operate calmly and regularly”, he told KIC.
In the Myawaddy Township area, over 300 illicit Chinese gambling establishments operate, with more than 100 structures, ranging from doss-houses, to upscale condominiums accommodating undocumented Chinese residents.
The Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) and the local administration under the Military Council granted permissions for the constructions and settlement by, a source close to Myawaddy Land Management Department informed KIC.
A Myawaddy resident reported “Myawaddy has evolved into a densely populated Chinese settlement, hosting many Chinese-owned shops and casinos. Notably, some casinos are openly functioning within residential areas. These businesses are affiliated with the BGF and the Military, have created an environment where locals are afraid to voice objections.”
“A lot of Myanmar youth are employed in these casino businesses. Given the current complex and conflict-ridden period, with disrupted routes and widespread armed clashes, there are scarce employment opportunities for the youth. Consequently, they find themselves ending up working in these casino establishments”, he added.
Along the Thailand-Myanmar border, online scamming businesses have taken root and established a firm presence in areas like Shwe Kokko, Mi Htaw Hlar Lay, KK Park, Kyaukkhet, and Wawlay. Although inspections on the Thai side near these regions have intensified, there have been no reported arrests so far, according to locals.
These operations are vitally dependent on a reliable power supply from Tak province in Thailand where the provincial electricity board makes it possible to sustain satellite telecommunications to operate inside this nexus of criminal operations in Myawaddy.
On the outskirts of Myawaddy, military operations are underway as the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and allied forces engage in activities in areas such as Let Khat Taung, Myawaddy Asia New Road, and Thinganyinaung village. The 355th and 275th Light Infantry Battalions of the Military Council, are deployed in the region, as part of a Junta strategy to contain any further advances by the KNLA- led resistance with repeated air-strikes and shelling.
At the same time these Junta forces bolster their BFG allies and secure the defensive perimeters to the huge criminal complex of Chinese cyber-scams and human trafficking of Shwe Kokko and the other casinos.