Cambodia – no man’s land
The rapid economic development in the Greater Mekong Sub-region of the last two decades has meant an equally rapid expansion of a better-off middle class. According to the generally understood law of supply and demand, the extra wealth accumulated by these people has to be promptly funnelled into the economy again. The problem in Southeast Asia, as in many other developing corners of the world, is that too many times this translates into the rise of a vicious entertainment industry. This research project analyses the situation at the borderland of Poipet – Aranyaprathet, on the Cambodian – Thai frontier. Particularly focussing on the deteriorating circumstances in Poipet, this study uncovers some of the most worrisome underworld connections between increasingly organised criminal syndicates, and the involvement, oftentimes forced, of the local population. In a country, Cambodia, were young people make up for the largest portion of the population, the consequences of the rise in the entertainment industry on the weakest and most vulnerable, the children, are seriously taken into account. The project is designing some countermeasures to contain a further uncontrolled explosion of illegal activities.