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Chinese cash fuels gambling boom in Cambodian backwater

Sihanoukville soars, but frenzied development could cloud resort's future

The Jin Bei Casino hotel, which opened earlier this year, is one of Sihanoukville's newest properties targeting Chinese expats and tourists. (Photo by George Styllis)

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia -- This southern coastal city is ringing to the sound of construction.

Chinese characters festoon supermarkets, shopfronts and tour agencies. Casinos have multiplied over the past year, towering awkwardly behind Sihanoukville's cheap hostels and burger vans. Chinese investors are pumping money into the city's property and gaming industries, transforming it from a backpacker retreat into a bustling "Chinatown."

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