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In Laos' economic zone, a casino and illicit trade beckon in 'lawless playground'

In Laos' economic zone, a casino and illicit trade beckon in 'lawless playground'

The Kings Romans Casino is an island of extravagance in the Laotian jungle, its corrugated green domes arching high above the treetops.

Inside, hundreds of stone-faced gamblers hunch over baccarat tables, betting thousands of dollars a hand in heavy silence. Out back, a parking lot full of Rolls-Royce limousines adjoins dusty construction yards and banana plantations, with high, forested peaks beyond.

"What do you come for?" a Kings Romans chauffeur said as he shuttled a visitor from the casino to a nearby tourist market. "You like to gamble? You like girls? You can find all sorts of girls here: Chinese, Burmese, Lao, Thai. Here, you can get whatever you want,...

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