Cambodia: about 10 dead and 30 injured in a fire at a casino hotel

Sylvie Claire / December 29, 2022

At least ten people died on Wednesday night in an impressive fire at a casino hotel on the border of Cambodia and Thailand, in the middle of the holiday season.
The fire, which broke out around 11:30 p.m. at the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino in the western Cambodian city of Poipet, left "about 10 people dead and 30 injured," according to a preliminary report from Cambodian police seen by AFP.
Photos show the perilous maneuver of firefighters who, with the help of a crane, tried to extract from a burning building people trapped on a balcony or windowsill.
The multi-story complex and a walkway connecting two buildings were ravaged by fire.
Injured people were sent to hospitals in the neighboring Thai province of Sa Kaeo, said a source at the Thai Foreign Ministry.
Thai firefighters were also mobilized, she added. 
A member of a Thai rescue team told AFP that the fire spread quickly in the casino hotel, due to the presence of carpeting.
Some 400 people work at the Grand Diamond City, Cambodian police said.
- 200 meters from Thailand - 
Foreign citizens were inside the building when the fire broke out, according to local media. 
Citizens of Cambodia, one of Asia's poorest countries, are prohibited by law from gambling in casinos.
But many casinos for foreigners have sprung up in border towns, such as Poipet, where Thai customers flock. Casinos are also officially banned in Thailand, which encourages gamblers to cross the border.
The Grand Diamond City is located about 200 meters from the border crossing, on the busy road between the Thai capital Bangkok and Siem Reap, a tourist town known for the nearby Angkor temples.
In recent months, there have been several deadly fires in nightclubs in Southeast Asia, which are regularly suspected of not respecting basic safety rules. 
In August, a fire in a nightclub near Pattaya, Thailand, killed 26 people, mostly local youths who had come to party.
A month later, 32 people died in a fire at a karaoke bar on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
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