Laos casino revealed to be hub for criminal organization

The U.S. government has identified a casino in Laos to be the headquarters for a Southeast Asia-based criminal network, according to reports.

Sanctions were imposed by the Treasury Department on Tuesday against four individuals and three companies across Laos, Thailand and Hong Kong – who have been revealed to be part of the Zhao Wei network, a criminal network involved in human trafficking, drug trafficking, child prostitution and wildlife trafficking.

Sigal Mandelker, under secretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the network operated through the Kings Romans Casino in Laos.

“The Zhao Wei crime network engages in an array of horrendous illicit activities, including human trafficking and child prostitution, drug trafficking, and wildlife trafficking,” said Mandelker.

“We are targeting key figures in this transnational criminal organization, which stretches from the Kings Romans Casino in Laos throughout Southeast Asia.”

The network is also alleged to engage in money laundering and bribery in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone, an area known for opium production.

“OFAC is designating the Zhao Wei network as part of a broader strategy to disrupt the financial infrastructure of transnational criminal organizations that pose a threat to the United States and our allies,” he added.