Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association

Updated: Female Employee of Tycoon’s “Call Center” Casino in Bavet Beheaded, Suspect Arrested

The exterior of Dynasty hotel and casino in Svay Rieng’s Bavet city. (Dynasty Facebook)
The exterior of Dynasty hotel and casino in Svay Rieng’s Bavet city. (Dynasty Facebook)

Police are investigating the murder of a 24-year-old woman found beheaded in her rental room before dawn on Thursday in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet city.

The woman was an employee at Dynasty Entertainment Co., Ltd, a four-star casino and hotel which included “call center” operations and was owned by Oknha Cheam Phen, according to Commerce Ministry records. Dynasty was located across the street from the Moc Bai casino complex, where numerous reports of online scams and human trafficking have surfaced, including where “call centers” have served as a front for criminal activity.

“The woman worked for this casino [Dynasty]. She has a staff identity card that was found on her body. We are investigating,” said a man answering a hotline number for the Bavet City police department and declining to identify himself. He confirmed the basic details of the murder first reported in government-aligned outlet Fresh News. She has since been identified as Morn Sreymey.

Dynasty’s owner, Phen, is the husband of Hay Sopheary, according to a post on the ruling CPP’s website listing the couple’s $20,000 flood relief donation in 2020.

Both Sopheary and Mok Poponnrith — identified repeatedly in local and international media as Hun Manet’s mother-in-law — are listed in Commerce Ministry records as board directors for a microfinance institution, Entean Akpevath Pracheachun Limited.

Poponnrith is the wife of Pich Sophoan Facebook posts confirm. They are the parents of Hun Manet’s wife Pich Chanmony, according to NGO Global Witness.

Phen, Sopheary and Poponnrith could not be reached for comment.

Dynasty advertised positions for “call center” jobs on its Facebook page, with the most recent post on February 15 this year. 

“Now the call center is already full,” said a Dynasty employee who gave her name as Mey and answered a phone number listed on the casino’s website.

Mey said she was only a low level staff member, but denied that the casino was the site of any illegal activities.

“Our casino is not an online casino,” she said. Regarding the call center, “its role is like customer service,” she added. 

She claimed the beheaded woman had not worked at the call center and added “I don’t know anything about that story.”

In Dynasty’s call center advertisements, prospective candidates were asked to “have experience” at other call centers, a “suitable personality” and a willingness to “improve skills and love this job.” English, Chinese and Vietnamese language skills were a “priority.” 

Despite authorities announcing crackdowns in Sihanoukville late last year, scam operations appeared to expand in Bavet around the Moc Bai complex, local media reported in October. 

Last July, a Chinese man was killed at Moc Bai Casino in the complex and there have been other deaths by falling and hanging at the complex. Dozens of Vietnamese nationals fled conditions of reported forced labor at Moc Bai Casino in September last year. 

The Svay Rieng police officer said he did not know if Dynasty was also involved in online scams and human trafficking but said police were investigating the beheaded woman’s case.

On Friday, Authorities arrested Kandal-native Lor Konghour, 41, who had worked as a card dealer at Dynasty, Bavet City police chief Kao Horn told CamboJA. He was found in Preah Vihear and will be transferred to Svay Rieng to face charges, Horn added.

Before being placed in custody, Konghour attempted to commit suicide by taking a fatal overdose of rat poison while at a Preah Vihear guesthouse. He became unconscious and authorities brought him to a hospital but the poison had already taken effect, said Preah Vihear Health Department director Kong Loe. Konghour remains in critical condition, he added.

“From my perspective, the court procedure on this beheading case cannot be carried out unless the suspect is recovered,” Loe said.

This story has been updated on April 21 at 3:33 p.m. to add additional information provided by authorities.