Laotian police shot dead five Chinese nationals who fled a Golden Triangle casino with a million yuan in cash.
Bullets flying from both police and a private car chasing four men turned the victims’ Honda CRV into Swiss cheese on the road leading from the Roman Kings Casino in Laos’ Bokeo Province. When the car rolled to a stop, police also shot and killed one of the men in the trailing car as he tried to escape on foot.
This being Laos and the Golden Triangle, what exactly sparked the hail of gunfire Wednesday afternoon isn’t completely clear.
The official story is that the four dead men in the CRV had gone to the casino carrying a suitcase full of Chinese RMB worth about 4.5 million baht. Despite the fact that Roman Kings is Chinese run, under a concession granted by the Laotian government, authorities were called, as having that much foreign cash violates just about every one of the country’s foreign currency laws.
Police pursued. Suspects fled. Suspects died in a hailstorm of steel. Case closed.
The unofficial story, however, is probably closer to the truth.
Laotian media reported that the four dead men owned that million yuan and more to the Chinese casino bosses. They came to make good on part of their debt. The lenders, allegedly connected to Chinese organized crime, found the offer insufficient.
Word were exchanged. Guns were flashed. Soon-to-be-dead guys head for the exits. They jumped in the CRV, also owned by a Chinese national, and skedaddled.
Gangsters in the trail car shot up the back of the CRV, which suddenly came upon a military checkpoint in the Golden Triangle Economic Zone. With the equivalent of 1,302,642,934.20 Laotian kip in the car, the Chinese weren’t about to stop, so they crashed through the checkpoint.
Police then gave pursuit, firing more rounds. Once the pursuing gangsters saw the police were on the scene, however, they U-turned, drive off and then, inexplicably, got out and tried to escape on foot into the jungle. Police managed to shoot dead one of those fleeing.